Edmondson: Texas Motor Speedway – Here we come again

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Dianne Edmondson, Precinct 4 County Commissioner

By Dianne Edmondson, Precinct 4 County Commissioner

Yes, it’s true — Denton County Health Department has more vaccine, and we are scheduling three more clinics at the Texas Motor Speedway this week! There will be Moderna first and second vaccines, as well as Pfizer first shots. If your number has come up on the vaccine portal for a first shot, or if you received your first shot through the DCPH portal and are due for your second one, you will be notified of a specific appointment time, date and place.

Here are the planned dates and times, which are subject to change given the potential of icy north Texas weather:

TUESDAY, FEB. 9 —- 9:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. (1st Pfizer and 2nd Moderna shots)

The vaccination clinic originally scheduled for Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway is being cancelled due to anticipated icy conditions. Weather permitting, Denton County Public Health plans to administer approximately 3,000 second doses of Moderna and 4,500 first doses of Pfizer from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Appointments will be sent by Wednesday evening via email or text message to those individuals awaiting their second dose from DCPH as well as those next in the Vaccine Interest Portal waitlist for first dose scheduling.

FRIDAY, FEB. 12 —- 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (1st Pfizer shots starting at #72,618)

VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED

It takes about 600 people to staff a vaccine clinic at TMS, and many of those are volunteers who selflessly give their time and energy to help vaccinate the rest of us. Words of thanks are not enough for those kind people, and we still need more!

This journey to defeat COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. We will be vaccinating 1A and 1B patients probably until late spring or early summer, depending on vaccine supplies. Then will come the yet-undefined 1C tier, which hopefully will include teachers, child care workers and law enforcement. After that, the general public will have access to the vaccine as well, so it’s obvious that we are in for a long haul in getting everyone who wants one vaccinated.

Medical background is great, but not needed for many important tasks at our clinics. If you would like to volunteer, please phone 972-434-7400 or, better yet, fill out the form online here. You will be given an online one-hour training and a shift time/date. As an added “bonus”, those volunteers who have not yet received their vaccinations, will be given that opportunity on the day of their shift, depending upon availability of the vaccine. Full details will be given as you check in.

WHEN SHOULD I ARRIVE AT MY APPOINTMENT?

Appointment times are set in order to be sure that our process continues to work smoothly, so please pay attention to your time and try to arrive no more than 15 minutes early to avoid causing bottlenecks. We have never run out of vaccine at any of our carefully-planned clinics, so arriving really early for your appointment doesn’t really make you any more likely to get the shot! Conversely, DO NOT COME to the clinic without an appointment — you will be turned away and it won’t make any difference “who you know!” Register in the portal and wait patiently for your turn as several thousand others have.

There were more than 7,400 no shows or cancellations from the first batch of clinics. So please, for the sake of all the thousands who have registered on our portal, please cancel if you have been vaccinated elsewhere — don’t just not show up! That cancellation on your part frees up a spot for someone else who may really need this vaccine, and it’s an easy thing for you to do. Just call the hotline at 940-349-2585 and ask them to remove you from the list.

We understand that those of you who have registered but not yet been given an appointment for your vaccination are anxious about the time it is taking. Please know that our computer system is taking the registrants in the order they registered, and you should be receiving a weekly email – usually sent out over the weekend — reminding you of your number in the line and giving you details of the expected number for the start of the next clinic. If you are not getting this update, please contact the hotline shown above and make sure they have the correct email and/or text number for you.

Also, you are encouraged to sign up at other provider’s lists. Just remember to remove yourself from all those lists once you are vaccinated, as we discussed above.

We are all, of course, concerned about the new variants that are emerging, but the vaccine manufacturers believe that their products will be effective against the new strains. And there are at least two, possibly even more, vaccines finishing their trials so that the FDA can approve them for pubic use. This doesn’t mean that the end is in sight, but it does mean that we are at the end of the beginning — and eventually, we will be at the beginning of the end!

Until then, stay strong, follow the CDC guidelines and protect both yourself and others until we have defeated this invisible demon known as COVID-19 – 19.

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