The city of Dallas launched its program Monday to get homebound residents vaccinated against COVID-19 after a brief postponement.
Though the city planned to provide in-home vaccinations to immobile residents using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the program is now taking place using the two-dose Moderna vaccine due to the federal pause of the vaccine.
“Logistically it’s a bit more of a challenge because of the temperature it has to be held and so forth, but again, [we have] a very resilient team and they are very good at managing whatever’s thrown at them," said Asst. Chief Bret Stidham, Chief of Staff for Dallas Fire Rescue.
Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted the news on Wednesday, highlighting the idea of giving an opportunity to every Dallas resident to receive the vaccine.
The launch was postponed when the FDA and CDC recommended pausing the use of one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Dallas was partnering with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) to get 500 doses of Johnson & Johnson to homebound Meals on Wheels recipients.
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Six teams of Dallas Fire-Rescue staff will work with VNA to give 60 shots a day for as long as the supply of Moderna allows.
Stidham said Dallas Fire-Rescue worked on this mission for months and that it's extremely important for the city. He said he's glad they were able to kick off the program Monday.
"They know that they’re making a difference in our community in the city of Dallas so, it’s something they look forward to each and every single day," said Stidham about the firefighters. "They’re always going to have a smile on their face and they’ve gone out there and they make a difference.”
They're working in partnership with VNA to reach vulnerable residents who are not able to make it out of the house.
VNA president and CEO Katherine Krause said their priority is to vaccinate Meals on Wheels clients, seniors who are not able to get out of the house. The second wave of the program will focus on people who are immobile and on the waiting list.
“I feel a whole lot better and I definitely wanted to get it," said James Mosley, a resident who received the shot on Monday.
He said he has health concerns and was was recently released from the hospital.
"Unless I have to, I don’t go anywhere, I stay right here in the neighborhood," Mosely said.
He found the program helpful since the vaccine came to him.
"It was wonderful, It kept me from having to get out in the public and taking the chance of catching this virus," Mosley said.
He said he was aware initially he was supposed to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but said he's not worried about getting a second dose and just wants to be protected.
“I thank God they got out with it this morning and I thank you very much," he said
Dallas Fire-Rescue and the VNA will be back out in about a month to administer the second dose.
According to Stidham, they've vaccinated close to 30,000 people since December. That includes police and fire vaccinations along with individuals who went to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
“We’ve just been learned how to adapt and overcome, and that’s what firefighters do and they’re just able to figure things out," he said.
For more information on the city's COVID-19 response efforts and vaccines, call 214-670-INFO (4636) or click here. To register for a vaccination click here or call 1-855-IMMUNE9 (855-466-8639) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.