Arlington distributes 3000 vaccines to first responders, the elderly and people with high-risk conditions

AMR Arlington paramedic Selena Schmidt administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Desoto resident Wanda Lewis on Dec. 31 at Esports Stadium Arlington. Lewis was the last person to receive the vaccine from the City of Arlington’s first 3,000 doses.

The city of Arlington finished distributing its first 3,000 allotted doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center.

The Arlington Fire Department received its first batch Monday and administered vaccines to 800 people on Tuesday and 1890 people on Wednesday. They anticipated administering about 300 doses Thursday.

The fire department is expecting another batch of vaccines to arrive as soon as next week, said Richard Fegan, Arlington Fire Department public information officer. The exact date and number of doses is not yet confirmed because of delivery logistics.  

The fire department inoculated the city’s first responders, health care workers, residents who are over 65 years old and people who are over 16 years old with underlying health conditions. These are the people who fall under the phase 1A and 1B groups in accordance with the Texas Department of State Health Services. These groups are eligible to get the vaccine now.  

The Texas COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel is still deciding which groups will get the vaccine next and will update its website when it has finalized its decision.

Online registration will not be used for the second batch. People will register as they come in on a first-come, first-served basis, Fegan said.

“Some people struggled to register online, maybe not everybody has internet access or a computer,” he said. “We want to make sure we are not leaving out those people.”

Tarrant County resident Omar Rutland, 50, was the first in line to get the vaccine on Thursday. He got to the site at 4:30 a.m. 

Because of his older age and underlying health condition, he worried about how his body would react if he contracted the COVID-19 virus.

“I wanted to desperately get this vaccination shot,” Rutland said.

As a Black man, he said many minorities are skeptical about the vaccine. He urged minorities to look at the statistics and see for themselves that there are a lot more minorities dying from COVID-19.

“By taking this vaccination shot, [it] will help you prolong your life and potentially not die from this disease,” he said.

Married couple David Garza and Luz Lozano got to the site a little after 6 a.m. and were some of the last few to get the vaccine.

They were told there was no guarantee that there would be vaccines left, but they could wait and see.

“After we had waited two hours in the rain, we thought yes, we could wait a little bit longer,” Lozano said.  

She said the vaccine brought them one step closer to being safer, and now they can continue their job search. They lost their jobs in March and have been unemployed since.

“We kept waiting and prayed,” she said. “Thank God we got it.”

@Chongyang206

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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