Back-to-school vaccination sites are being hosted by Tarrant County Public Health ahead of the new school year.
The county’s main site located at Ridgmar Mall will run through August 27, according to Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.
“August is our back-to-school rush month,” Taneja said. “We opened [Monday] with a big bang at our Ridgmar Mall location.”
Other sites hosting vaccination clinics will rotate weekly between Resource Connection in Fort Worth, Southeast Public Health Clinic in Arlington, Watauga Public Health Clinic in Watauga, and Northwest Public Health Clinic in Lake Worth. COVID-19 vaccines are available this year for eligible children ages 12 and older, as well.
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“Try not to wait until the last day. You want to give the vaccine some time to work. Make sure your child has that protection as they go to school,” Taneja said.
At a briefing before Tarrant County commissioners on Tuesday, Taneja said the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate was nearing 21%. Trends, including hospitalizations, have consistently increased over the past several weeks. As of Tuesday, Taneja said 14% of Tarrant County’s occupied hospital beds were being used by COVID-19 patients.
“The unfortunate part is it’s a very sharp increase in cases. That tells me a pocket of our community has gotten COVID,” he said. “The literal term is “caught fire” with COVID.”
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At the clinic inside Ridgmar Mall, some parents and guardians expressed lingering hesitancy with the COVID-19 vaccine for their children. Amy Delarosa of Fort Worth brought her daughter for her back-to-school vaccinations.
“Everything went smooth, everything went quick. Everyone was real nice,” Delarosa said. “I think it’s going to be a good thing for her to go back to school and interact with all the children, because she needs it.”
Though her daughter is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, Delarosa said they have not to get her vaccinated at this time. Currently, no coronavirus vaccine is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but three were given emergency use authorization by the agency.
“I’m just not really comfortable right now because it’s not FDA approved yet,” Delarosa said. “I’m not against it, but for now…we’re not going to go that route.”
This year, virtual learning at school districts including Fort Worth ISD is not an option. Fort Worth ISD is set to return to school fully in person on Monday, Aug. 16.
For a full schedule of the back-to-school vaccination clinics hosted by Tarrant County Public Health, click here.