A new COVID-19 vaccine clinic opened this week in Fort Worth, following the closure of a drive-thru site last week.
The city opened the new site at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex at 505 W. Felix Street on Monday after shutting down operations at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
Consumer health specialist Jessica Rosado with Fort Worth Code Compliance said the new site will operate Monday through Friday.
“We have been here in the past, and it worked. Everybody knows this location,” Rosado said.
The drive-thru vaccine site at Wilkerson-Greines closed ahead of the winter season with the Bob Bolen location being indoors, she added.
On their second day of operations, Tuesday, the number of vaccinations surpassed Monday’s total of about 80 by 12 p.m. Rosado said it’s possible they will see an increase in demand due to news of the omicron variant.
“We are here. We are open for them. We have extended our hours until 6 p.m., so that could be an opportunity for parents to pick up their children. They can come here to this vaccination site,” she said.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that it has drastically increased its ability to test virus samples for the omicron variant with the agency now sequencing about 1 out of every 7 PCR tests positive for COVID-19, NBC News reports. So far, the omicron variant has not been detected in the U.S.
Dr. Diana Cervantes, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, explained “variants” are genetic changes different from the original lineage of the virus.
“Viruses replicate. They make more of themselves and as they do that, there’s going to be little changes in the genetic material. If those are successful and it’s good for the virus, beneficial for the virus...then they’re just going to keep happening. That’s why we see a prominent variant like we have seen with delta,” Dr. Cervantes said.
“With omicron, it seems that there are some genetic sequences that may indicate that it can infect cells a little easier, but it’s really important to note that we really don’t know.”
Cervantes said what researchers do know, is that more variants will likely occur.
“Because these variants are going to continue to happen, it’s important that people just continue doing what they have been doing to protect themselves,” Cervantes said.
“The vaccine is always going to give you some level of protection and then always continue doing things we’ve been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. If you know you’re at high risk for getting severe disease, you definitely want to start layering those levels of protection. So, wearing a mask…making sure you’re trying to avoid close contact with people in cramped, confined spaces.”
Gary and Joyce McDaniel of Fort Worth received their COVID-19 vaccine boosters Tuesday at the Bob Bolen site. They planned to get their booster shots even before news of the omicron variant.
“We don’t get out that much. We’re retired, but we do go to Target and you go to different stores and all of that. You never know what you’re going to be exposed to,” Gary said.
Other people like Blanca Reyes of Fort Worth had also already planned to get their boosters.
“We’re going to have a breakfast on the fifth, December 5, a family breakfast,” Reyes said. “I was very hesitant about going. Now I will go.”
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