Nearly one month after requesting the state’s permission, the city of Frisco’s COVID-19 vaccine hub opened Feb. 2 at Stonebriar Centre mall.
Operations are going smoothly, according to Frisco Fire Chief Mark Piland.
“No one person has waited at all,” Piland said. “I would say that [patients are] not here more than ... 17 [to] 20 minutes total.”
This week, the city will inoculate 7,800 people with the Pfizer vaccine.
The operation took three weeks of planning and coordination among several city departments, Piland said.
It also took patience: the city requested to become a hub on Jan. 4. At the Jan. 19 City Council meeting, Piland said the city was prepared to open a hub and could vaccinate people within 24 hours of receiving state approval.
“All we need is an allotment of vaccines,” he said at the Jan. 19 meeting. “If we’re able to get that, which we feel there is a good chance that could happen in the coming weeks ... we’re ready to go and look forward to the opportunity to be able to do that.”
The city of Frisco’s hub is different from other Collin County vaccine hubs: it does not operate off a waitlist like those used by Collin and Denton counties.
Instead, the city books appointments each evening through its website for the following day. Once appointments for the next day are taken, eligible people have to wait until the following evening for more openings.
Piland said the city of Frisco’s hub plan—which he said looked promising for logistical success—might be one reason why the hub received so many vaccines in its first week of operations.
“They started us with 7,800 [doses] right from the very beginning,” Piland said. “So, I guess they trust us.”
He suggested the city’s positive track record with the state might have also played a role.
Piland said the city also has the ability to store the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at ultra-low temperatures.
“A lot of people do not have the ability to store the Pfizer [vaccine], and they take Moderna [doses] because they can just be refrigerated. So I think that our ability to take Pfizer, and the state’s need to push Pfizer out means that I think this site will continue to get vaccine,” Piland said.
Under the state of Texas’ distribution guidelines, the first batches of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are reserved for people in groups 1A or 1B. These include health care workers; residents of long-term care facilities; people age 65 or older; or those at least 16 years old who have a chronic medical condition, including pregnancy, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
To book an appointment, visit www.friscotexas.gov/vaccine.