A new COVID-19 vaccination site opened in Fort Worth on Tuesday, which county leaders hope will expand access to underserved communities in Tarrant County.
The doors at the Brighter Outlook, Inc. facility on Dunbar Street in Fort Worth opened as a vaccination site. The facility is operated by the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and was opened through a partnership between the University of North Health Science Center and Tarrant County.
“It’s an overjoying, overflowing sense of accomplishment to see we have this team on site ready to serve in our community,” chief strategy officer for UNTHSC Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams said. “It’s important to have this location today in Stop Six, because we know there are many members of this community who are disenfranchised, don’t have transportation, and don’t have resources to go to another location that may be either a drive-thru, because they don’t drive.
The facility is expected to vaccinate roughly 200 people daily. The goal is to vaccinate 1,000 people in the first week, according to UNTHSC.
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The facility will operate as appointment-only. One of the first people in line Tuesday was D’Lashonda Davis.
“I’m truly excited, so we can get back to some type of normal,” Davis said. “I’m kind of early too, so that truly shows that I’m excited. Since yesterday, I’ve been nervous.”
Planning for a vaccination site in areas such as Stop Six and other underserved areas has been discussed in recent meetings before Tarrant County commissioners. At Tuesday’s briefing, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley expressed frustration there had not been a site established in northwest Tarrant County.
“I hope it’s going to be going real quick. Otherwise, I’m going to be madder and madder as each week goes by,” Whitley said. “I believe UNTHSC is looking at a site, they obviously mentioned one in Saginaw…which that, in my mind…is kind of what I’m looking for. Saginaw, Azle, somewhere up there in that northwest area.”
As the planning continues for more sites, county leaders are also preparing for next week when all adults in Texas will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Everyone needs to sign up, so we can do this in a methodical, organized fashion,” Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said. “This week’s allocation was bigger. Typically, we would get 9,000 to 10,000 first doses. This week, we’re supposed to get 18,000 first doses. So, that’s a huge increase for us. But again, we still have capacity. As you can see, we’re not running our clinics full days everywhere. So, we have the capacity to absorb that. We’ll keep growing as the vaccine supply comes.”
According to Tarrant County Public Health, more than 507,000 vaccine doses have been administered so far. The dashboard is expected to be updated on Wednesday.