Within two hours of announcing the event, appointments for the Northeast Texas Public Health District’s COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru clinics at Harvey Convention Center were filled for both Friday and Saturday.

NET Health has created a waiting list sign-up online for people to be a part of the next drive-thru clinic.

Those without an appointment are asked to enroll in NET Health’s waiting list at NETHealthCOVID19.org/RegisterForYourFirstModernaVaccine.

People on the waiting list will be the first contacted when the next drive-thru vaccine clinic is scheduled by the NET Health Immunizations Department.

George Roberts, NET Health CEO, said there were lengthy lines at 8 a.m. Friday of people wanting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He said the community at large has been pleased as well as courteous and thankful.

In a statement Friday, NET Health said only people who made an appointment should be able to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

This weekend’s drive-thru clinics were the second time NET Health hosted an event for mass vaccinations. Over a three-day period last week, Roberts said 114 people were vaccinated on the first day, 588 people on the second day and 260 people on the third day.

For the Friday and Saturday distribution, the goal was to complete 400 to 500 vaccinations, he said.

Roberts said NET Health expects to host another two-day event next Tuesday and Wednesday and people on the waiting list will be next ones to receive an appointment. He said more vaccines will be coming to East Texas soon.

Professionals from UT Tyler, UT Health Science Center at Tyler, Texas Department of State Health Services’ regional office in Tyler and other volunteers are assisting NET Health with the vaccination process, Roberts said.

“We’re very pleased,” he said. “I think it’s gone very, very well. The community has been so gracious.”

NET Health’s clinic includes Tiers 1A and 1B of the vaccine distribution plan.

Tier 1A includes first responders (firefighters, ambulance workers and police officers), last responders (funeral home employees and medical examiners), school nurses, home health workers and health care workers who provide direct care to patients. Tier 1B includes people age 65 and older and anyone 16 and older who have at least one chronic medical condition.

“Anyone who received their first Moderna vaccine from any of the drive-thru vaccine clinics at Harvey Hall last week or this week will be contacted later this month in order to schedule their second appointment to complete their COVID-19 vaccination series,” Roberts said.

This vaccine requires a second dose at least 28 days after the first shot.

The DSHS is distributing the Moderna vaccine to NET Health, local pharmacies, hospitals, and community clinics throughout East Texas.

Roberts said the vaccine doses coming to the area is a light at the end of the tunnel, but reiterated the need to continue social distancing, hand washing and staying away from large crowds.

“Everybody’s been wonderful,” he said. “It’s been a very successful day. We still got some time in the tunnel. We still need to remember the things we’ve been talking about.”

NET Health will be hosting vaccine clinics for the foreseeable future as long as the health district receives the supply.

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I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.