DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Even as COVID-19 vaccination distribution is set to hit record levels in the country, many eligible North Texans are still struggling to get their shots and are willing to travel to more rural parts of the state for a vaccination.
“I think we were just getting anxious because a lot of our friends had already gotten the first shot and we weren’t getting any calls,” said William Baker, who lives in Dallas.
Baker is one of the many people who have found available appointments in more rural parts of the state.
Tired of waiting, he and Steve Gonzalez decided to take a road trip to East Texas to get their vaccines.
“About two hours and 40 minutes,” he said.
Gonzalez has a parent who is homebound, and he wanted to get his shot to help keep her safe.
“We’re just pretty conscientious of wanting to try and protect ourselves and our family and our friends,” Gonzalez said.
That’s why Cassie Mycoskie, a McKinney resident, was willing to drive to Jacksboro for an appointment.
“An hour and 45 minutes, and I got my vaccine,” she said. “I have a son and obviously he can’t get the vaccine now, but if my husband and I are vaccinated, that’s a way of protecting him.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says North Texans shouldn’t have to drive hours to get vaccinated.
This week, the number of vaccines diverted from all providers in Dallas County rose to 113,925. It rose to 82,952 for Tarrant County as these graphs illustrate. @TexasDSHS @GovAbbott , North Texans shouldn’t have to drive hours to get vaccinated. Please restore the shots! pic.twitter.com/0IOIYca3KC
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) March 16, 2021
“There’s really no reason at all for that, other than politics, which really shouldn’t play a role in public health,” Judge Jenkins said.
He says the state stopped sending Dallas and Tarrant County’s fair share of doses a few weeks ago when federal vaccination clinics opened up in Dallas and Arlington.
“That’s no way to beat COVID,” said Jenkins. “The way to beat COVID is to do it population adjusted across the state.”
Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Department of State Health Services, says about seven in ten people have gotten vaccinated in the county where they live, but there are people traveling from urban to rural areas – and vice versa.
“At this point, we and the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel try to keep vaccination allocation roughly proportional to the county population to be as fair as possible,” Van Deusen said.
For Shawn Terry, who drove from Dallas to Canton for his shot, it doesn’t feel that way.
“There are so many people like myself traveling to rural areas to get the vaccine,” he said. “I’m happy I did it, it’s a great investment of time to protect others from COVID.”