On Wednesday, 862 people were vaccinated through a pop-up vaccination clinic offered in Fort Worth.
The vaccine clinic at the Handley Meadowbrook Community Center was organized by the city of Fort Worth and MedStar. There have been six pop-up vaccination clinics held throughout the city so far but for the first Wednesday, pre-registration was not required.
Not requiring registration was an effort to get more people vaccinated, according to MedStar. Michael Potts, emergency management administrator for MedStar, said the 1,000 vaccine doses offered Wednesday came to their allotment.
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"They’re very appreciative of the fact that we’re bringing the vaccines to them within their community, that’s close to their house," Potts said. "They don’t have to drive to the Speedway, they don’t have to drive to Arlington in order to get a shot."
Eligibility for the vaccine Wednesday followed current state guidelines.
Those eligible include:
- Frontline health care workers.
- Residents of long-term care facilities.
- People 50 years old and above.
- People 18 years old and above with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.
- School and child care personnel.
The event was not widely advertised until Wednesday morning. Initially, there was no line at the community center when it opened. However, more people came throughout the afternoon.
Michael Bui of Mansfield said he heard about the event from his wife, who advised him to go.
"I couldn’t miss the opportunity. I knew it was something I was going to do eventually," Bui said. "The sooner, the better, because I’ve got little ones at home. A brand new baby at home, so the safer I could make myself, the better I can be for them."
Keri Weatherd of Fort Worth described the process as "simple and easy." Weatherd found out via Facebook.
"I’ve literally been looking to get vaccinated for probably two weeks, so everything keeps rejecting me. When I saw this, I came on down," she said.
As the Tarrant County prepares for the next phase of the vaccine rollout, which includes all adults in Texas being eligible, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said they are ready. Starting out, Whitley said they will likely continue with requiring registrations.
"We don’t want 10,000 people to show up for 1,000 shots. That creates a lot of confusion, frustration, and a lot of traffic," Judge Whitley said Wednesday.
However, Whitley said that could change over time.
"I guess the one thing I’ve learned through this past year is never say 'never.' It is still important that we get certain information from the individual and through the registration process, we get that information ahead of time. Maybe it saves a little bit of time," he said. "What I would say, is we’re going to experiment. If we see something that seems to be working at one location, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do the same at one location. So, if MedStar’s pop-up works today and we try it a couple more times and we don’t see a massive line or we don’t see a lot of folks showing up and ultimately not getting the vaccine, then we’ll give it a try."
According to Potts, more pop-up sites are in the works. They are typically held on Wednesday, though the location and allotment is usually not known until the Friday prior.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.