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Mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic helping underserved communities in Tarrant County

About 100 people were vaccinated Tuesday, according to MedStar, which partnered with Tarrant County Public Health and LVT Rise for the clinic.

FORT WORTH, Texas — In the heart of Fort Worth's Las Vegas Trail neighborhood, there was hope Tuesday morning in the form of a mobile coronavirus vaccine clinic.

"We've been waiting for this for so long," said Monica Ordaz, who was the first in line to receive the vaccine Tuesday.

The clinic, set up at area non-profit called LVTRise, brought the COVID vaccine right into the west Fort Worth neighborhood. It was a needed outreach, according to LVTRise executive director Willie Rankin.

"I was really just hoping this would help people who didn't have the ability to get transportation to some of the other vaccination sites," Rankin said via Zoom Tuesday.

The Las Vegas Trail neighborhood has long been known as an area faced with deep troubles, including socio-economic challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Rankin said some people here don't have internet, computers or transportation.

"So whenever there's a vaccination, they say, 'go to this website and sign up for the vaccine,'" Rankin said. "But for this particular population, that's not really an effective way."

Tarrant County Public Health, MedStar and LVTRise came to them Tuesday, vaccinating about 100 people from the 76116 zip code. Most had appointments through the county, according to MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky, but some were able to walk up and get appointments. Others got help getting registered.

"We're trying to make sure we meet where they are," said Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.

Taneja said low vaccine supply continues to be a challenge, but they hope to continue outreach.

"We know just from looking at our data that folks in underserved communities, due to variety of life conditions, may not even be able to access the opportunity that's there," Taneja said of the vaccine.

They want, and intend, to provide that 'shot in the arm' to this community and beyond.