Tarrant County held a free clinic for first responders in need of a COVID-19 vaccine Saturday.
This week, Tarrant County Public Health received 4,200 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. About 100 doses of the vaccine were available at an Arlington clinic Wednesday. The county's first big push to vaccinate as many as possible as quickly as possible came Saturday.
The Saturday clinic was held at Resource Connection in Fort Worth. Dr. Catherine Colquitt, local health authority and medical director for Tarrant County Public Health, said the event was open to those in the Phase 1A group as designated by the state.
Phase 1A features two tiers. The first includes health care workers who interact with COVID-19 patients, those at high-risk for the virus, staff at long-term care facilities, EMS providers, home health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
The second includes staff members in outpatient care settings who interact with symptomatic patients, community pharmacy staff members, school nurses and public health staff.
“I’ve never been in such a happy group of people getting a shot before. I mean, it’s really wonderful and it’s remarkable. It’s such an achievement scientifically and socially to have identified a virus so quickly and develop vaccines against it,” Colquitt said. “Finally, I think we’re feeling lucky to be where we are right now.”
Allen Snell, a critical care paramedic for MedStar, received the first of his two doses at the clinic Saturday.
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“I didn’t feel a thing,” Snell said. “I wanted to get vaccinated as early as I could, so I didn’t have the chance of taking it to my home.”
Over the past several months, Snell said he has seen some of the worst of the pandemic.
“It’s been pretty bad,” he said. “This morning, I took someone to Plano. They were very, very sick. I’m hoping they will make it, but it didn’t look great. So, it’s been kind of bad for a long time.”
Staffing at the clinic Saturday was assisted through MedStar, the Fort Worth Fire Department, and the Tarrant County Medical Reserve Corps. Rebecca Montgomery, senior vice president of advocacy at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, served as a volunteer nurse in an observation capacity.
People who were vaccinated were asked to stay for 15 to 30 minutes in case of any adverse reactions, Montgomery said.
“We have watched our small business community, our entire community, but especially our small business community as you all know hit hard,” she said. “The losses are devastating and it’s not over yet, so to be here today in this capacity, it just gives me so much hope.”
This week, the Texas State Department of Health Services urged entities that have received vaccines to administer them to willing individuals with “deliberate speed.” Once they have completed vaccinations for the 1A group, they urged those entities to move forward with the next phase of 1B individuals.