Fort Worth, Texas – The COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Tarrant County this week, with health care workers at places like Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth becoming the first to receive the initial dose starting Tuesday.
While it’s still unclear as to when the vaccine will be available to the general public, here’s what you need to know about getting a shot.
You will need two doses.
In order to get the most protection, you will need two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that’s currently available, according to the CDC. The second shot should take place three weeks after you get the first.
You’ll still need to wear a mask and social distance after getting it.
No, a vaccine isn’t exactly a ticket to freedom. According to Texas Health, “the vaccine does not replace the need for safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, maintaining safe distance, washing hands, and limiting gatherings with individuals outside the individual’s household.”
You may feel some flu-like symptoms afterward.
Those who receive the COVID-19 vaccine may experience flu-like symptoms that “might even affect your ability to do daily activities,” according to the CDC. But it’s a sign your body is building protection and should go away after a few days.
You shouldn’t have to pay for a vaccine.
According to the CDC, “vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost.” Vaccine providers may still charge you for administration fees though, which can be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance or, if uninsured, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
You won’t be forced to get it.
Getting the vaccine is voluntary, per the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Who’s getting the vaccine first?
Since vaccine supplies are limited, the first shots are going to health care personnel, people age 65 and older, people with underlying health conditions, and other frontline workers who may be vulnerable.
When and where can I get my vaccine?
It’s still uncertain as to when the vaccine will be available to the general public. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, vaccine administration will expand once large enough quantities become available. When that happens, the second phase of vaccinations will take place at commercial and private sector partners (pharmacies, doctors’ offices, clinics), public health sites (mobile clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, public health clinics, temporary/off-site clinics), and target areas with limited access.
Here’s how the vaccines were distributed among Tarrant County hospitals in the first week of administration:
- Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center: 975 doses
- Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine: 975 doses
- Medical City Arlington: 975 doses
- Texas Health Huguley Hospital – Fort Worth South: 975 doses
- Cook Children’s Occupational Health Services: 1,950 doses
- JPS Hospital: 1,950 doses
- Cook Children’s Medical Center: 4,875 doses
- Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth: 5,850 doses