After administering over 350,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses at its Texas Motor Speedway clinics, Denton County concluded its widely acclaimed operations Friday, followed by a celebration dinner attended by hundreds of workers and volunteers.
The county first hosted several smaller clinics at sites like the University of North Texas Discovery Park and C.H. Collins Athletic Complex before moving to a much larger scale at Texas Motor Speedway in early February. Utilizing the racing venue’s large, featureless parking lot as a blank canvas, the county was able to increase its efficiency to well over 1,000 vaccinations an hour.
After dozens of clinics and hundreds of thousands of shots, the speedway operations came to an end Friday. By the time the last recipient had rolled through, a total of 371,546 shots had been administered.
At the ensuing celebration dinner for speedway volunteers and workers, Denton County Judge Andy Eads announced an update for the percentage of county residents who have been vaccinated. While children as young as 12 were recently made eligible for a shot, 54.75% of the county’s residents aged 16 or older have received at least one dose, with 44.23% of that group fully vaccinated.
“It’s a great honor to lead this wonderful group of people,” Eads said. “2020 was very divisive in America because of COVID, but I believe our efforts at the speedway had a unifying effect.”
Addressing the crowd of hundreds, Eads thanked many of the several partners and organizations that assisted in the TMS operations. He was joined by Denton County Public Health Director Matt Richardson.
“We say ‘thank you’ because we don’t know what else to say,” Richardson said. “When you lay your head on your pillow, I want you to know that your time and your effort mattered.”
Volunteer Jan Lands, a retired Denton resident, started helping at the Texas Motor Speedway clinics in March. Through the Medical Reserve Corps, she volunteered at about five clinics, assisting with parking and tasks like clipboard cleaning.
“It’s very humbling and gives a good sense of community,” Lands said. “I’ve always volunteered since I was a little girl. This is something special — once in a lifetime, I hope.”
After Friday night’s send-off, the next steps for the county will be this week’s clinics in Lewisville and Denton. DCPH has already opened its waitlist to anyone 12 and older, and while its clinics will remain by appointment only, residents can now self-schedule their appointment date and time to allow for easier access.
“We’re far from done with vaccinations,” Eads said.