(CBSDFW.COM) – There was hope in Tarrant County on Saturday as the health department opened its first COVID-19 vaccination clinic, where medical workers and first responders were given the protection they’ve been long awaiting.

“What’s happening today is really wonderful. We have gotten an allotment of the Moderna vaccine against covid and we have opened a vaccine event to first responders, including firefighters, paramedics, EMTs. We’ve also opened it to school nurses,” said Catherine Colquitt, medical director at Tarrant County Public Health.

Colquitt said the turnout on the first day was good as they vaccinated over a few hundred people.

“It’s absolutely thrilling, really. I’ve never been in a group of such happy people getting a shot before, I mean this is really wonderful. And I mean, it’s remarkable, it’s such an achievement, scientifically and research, to have identified a virus so quickly and have developed a vaccine so quickly that it’s so effective,” Colquitt said.

One of the first people rolling up their sleeve for the shot was Rebecca Montgomery, a volunteer nurse with the Tarrant County Medical Reserve Corps.

“To be here today in this capacity just gives me so much hope. Literally shot in the arm that we need and we’ve been waiting for, it’s not over yet but this is the shot we need to see the finish line,” Montgomery said.

Ian Lortscher, a paramedic with MedStar, said he wanted the vaccine so he could keep helping people.

“We are the first people there when people call us and need us, so getting this vaccine will help us do that in a way that we won’t have to be quite as worried about getting sick and not being able to go to work and be there to help other people,” Lortscher said.

“These are very forward facing people who are at very high risk. We are intent on getting as many of these vaccinated as we can,” Colquitt said.

Those who get the Moderna vaccine have to wait up to 30 minutes after their shot to make sure there is no adverse reaction. So far, Tarrant County has not seen any adverse reactions at its clinic.

MORE FROM CBSDFW

CBSDFW.com Staff