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Plano’s Sam Johnson Recreation Center operating as a Collin County vaccination hub



PLANO, TX – Plano resident Connie Cordova never had any doubt in her mind about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, she said.

A survivor of breast cancer and a heart attack, she said she plans to beat the coronavirus, too.

“I’m gonna have to take care of this one, too,” Cordova said after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Feb. 5 at the city of Plano’s Sam Johnson Recreation Center for Adults 50+.

The recreation center began operating as a vaccine hub Feb. 2. The center has been closed to the public, with the exception of its clinic, since March of last year due to the pandemic.

The vaccination site is the result of a private-public partnership among Texas Health Resources, the city of Plano and Collin County, according to Plano City Manager Mark Israelson.

Texas Health Resources runs the daily operations and is working off the Collin County waitlist to schedule vaccination appointments. The hub also receives a portion of Collin County Healthcare Services’ state-allotted vaccine doses.

In its first week, the center vaccinated close to 200 people each day. That number is expected to go up as more vaccines become available, said Paula Miller, site manager with Texas Health Resources.

Miller helped run another Texas Health Resources vaccination site before coming to the Plano location, she said. The hub operates out of the open space at the back of the recreation center.

Those with appointments wait in their vehicles in the parking lot until they receive a message to enter the building. From there, they sign in and wait in line for a member of the medical staff to take them back for their vaccination. Once vaccinated, people are asked to wait for 10-15 minutes to make sure there are no allergic reactions to the dose.

“It’s working just brilliantly so far,” Miller said.

Those who are vaccinated receive a card to verify they’ve had their first vaccination as well as a handout with information on possible symptoms, timing for returning for a second dose and other frequently asked questions, Miller said.

It is important for those vaccinated to return to the same location for their second dose, she said. Doing so should ensure that the correct second dose is available, as most locations will continue to receive the same type of vaccine, she said. The Sam Johnson center, for example, will continue to receive Pfizer vaccines, Miller said.

Dallas resident Alisia Thomas said she got vaccinated in the early phases of eligibility due to her status as a health care worker. She said she sees getting the vaccine and continuing her socially distanced lifestyle as due diligence for protecting others in the community.

“Maybe two weeks ago, I went to the funeral of someone who passed away from COVID[-19],” Thomas said. “So it’s a little too close to home to even chance it.”