Frisco resident Alan Long has gotten the flu shot every year for as long as he can remember.
He has also received vaccines for pneumonia and shingles without any bad reaction, so he figured the COVID-19 vaccine wouldn’t be much different.
“I'm anxious to live my life and be able to go see my grandkids and not have to worry about it at some point,” Long said. “Right now, I'm still in that stage where I do have to worry about it. To me, there were more positives than negatives, so I went ahead and opted to do it.”
Long is now one step closer to that goal after receiving his first COVID-19 vaccine dose from Denton County Public Health on Tuesday morning. Long, who falls into the state’s Phase 1B designation for vaccine rollout, said he had been seeking a place to get his shot before DCPH landed on his radar.
“I bet I called 30 different places that supposedly had the vaccine,” he said.
But to no avail. He described the situation as a “cluster.”
When he saw that DCPH had opened up registration online, he signed up. He had a reservation and time slot within minutes, he said.
On Tuesday morning, he drove up, filled out paperwork, answered a doctor’s questions, received his shot and waited 15 minutes in case of a reaction.
“I was in and out within 30 minutes,” he said. “Very efficient.”
On Jan. 8, Denton County announced that its online Vaccine Interest Portal had opened and that it would be conducting two vaccine clinics in the upcoming week. The county press release stated that those in Phases 1A and 1B would receive priority, and that it looked forward to receiving 3,500 vaccines early the next week.
“I speak on behalf of the entire Denton County Commissioners Court in saying how thankful we are to Gov. Greg Abbott and Dr. John Hellerstedt with DSHS for their decision to allow us the ability to set up vaccine depot centers to ensure our residents get vaccinations as quickly and safely as possible,” County Judge Andy Eads stated.
Two days later, the county announced that DCPH had been designated as one of the hubs across the state that would receive vaccines for distribution the week of Jan. 11. The state’s plan to provide vaccines to hubs came in an effort to give more people the vaccine and provide a “simpler” way to sign up, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services website.
On Sunday evening, DCPH announced that those living outside Denton County could also sign up on the portal. By noon Monday, DCPH reported that over 46,000 eligible people had signed up on its waitlist. The county announced that appointments for the first 500 vaccine appointments had been scheduled for Tuesday and that another 3,000 appointments for that week would be scheduled for Thursday.
“It’s a great day for a drive-thru mass vaccination clinic,” Eads wrote Tuesday on social media. “3,500 this week with even more next week.”
Denton County resident Laura Hovis went with her husband on Tuesday morning to get their COVID-19 vaccines from DCPH. Hovis, sitting in the passenger seat of their car, got hers in the right arm while her husband, in the driver’s seat, got his in the left.
Hovis, a Roanoke resident who falls in the Phase 1B category, said she was pleasantly surprised by the county department’s vaccination process.
“I just couldn't believe how quickly it went,” she said. “Everybody was just so kind, and they had so many volunteers there helping people.”
While she has her first dose, Hovis said she still plans on wearing a mask and being cautious when it comes to COVID-19.
“It gives you a little bit of relief, I guess, that it's a step, anyway, towards things getting a little bit back to normal,” she said.