As schools prepare to open next month, a Dallas-based molecular diagnostics company and a nonprofit partnered to offer free COVID-19 vaccines to students and families Saturday.
For many North Texas school districts, the first day of school is Aug. 16. Dallas-based GeneIQ Vaccine Direct is partnering with the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center to offer doses of both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to the public.
“We’re learning that those who did not have access to go to the vaccine, we needed to come to them,” Chief Administrative Officer of GeneIQ Andre Johnson said.
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Organizers said the partnership is the most efficient way to get the vaccine to members of the community who are most at risk.
“It’s important that we partner with agencies like the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center to reach out to the community where we can host an event and the individuals can come here in their own community and receive a COVID-19 vaccine," Johnson said.
With the beginning of the school year less than six weeks away, many Dallas ISD families said they were eager to make sure their children 12 years old and older were vaccinated.
“I’m fully vaccinated, everyone else in our family is fully vaccinated so with them going back to campus this year we want to make sure they’re protected, as well,” Jessica Wright said.
The Wright family was hit hard by COVID-19, which is why she brought her nieces and nephews to a free clinic Saturday to make sure they receive the vaccine.
“We’ve lost family members due to COVID-19, our grandmother was in the hospital for an extended period of time with COVID, and I just don’t want them to have to go through that,” she said.
The partnership with the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center is part of a strategic initiative by GeneIQ's vaccine direct division to support schools, corporations and community organizations with no-cost, on-site COVID-19 vaccinations.
“We have now decided to come to those individuals,” Johnson said. “We’re going everywhere -- public libraries -- we’re hosting vaccine clinics in McDonald’s in various communities. The vaccines are made available at no cost to the individual.”
Those who came without kids said they recognized the importance of getting vaccinated themselves.
“I’m a diabetic, I do a lot of traveling, so it’s just best that I get it just to make sure that everything is good at home and for my family,” Mark Lecoq said.
The students at the clinic Saturday said they understood, with the return to school, getting vaccinated was especially important for families living close to, or in the same home, with members of multiple generations.
“I know I’m about to be around a lot of people and I don’t want to get infected and pass it on to anyone so I know it’s important for me to do my part and get the vaccine,” Dallas ISD ninth-grader Gabrielle Ellis said.
Ellis’ aunt agreed.
“It’s just another layer of protection while we are together as a family,” Wright said.
To schedule an appointment for a vaccine with GeneIQ, call 972-942-0110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.