By Robbie Owens

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – City and county leaders in Dallas are going on the offensive in the battle against COVID-19, hoping more vaccinations will help to stop the virus’ relentless spread.

“I haven’t had it (COVID-19) yet and I just don’t want to get it,” says Robert Thompson.

Thompson was one of the first in line as the county’s mega vaccination site launched at Dallas’ Fair Park.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said nearly 1,800 people got vaccinated.

Vaccines are now available for priority patients, including those over 65 and those older than 16 with underlying health conditions.

“I live with my 90-year-old mother,” says Robert Natho. “We want to make sure we are as safe as we can be around her.”

Charlene Garvey, 92, got her vaccine Monday and said she was relieved.

“Wasn’t as bad as some of the shots I get at the doctor’s office!” says Garvey.

Patients must register online at dallascounty.org to reserve a spot.

“So much easier than I anticipated,” says Lynne Robinson. “I registered all of us on Saturday. We picked our time slot. From the time we left the house until right now, it’s been an hour and 55 minutes.”

Organizers say the goal is to vaccinate 2,000 people a day at the Fair Park site, even more if the state makes more doses available.

“We told them, send us as much vaccine as you can give us,” says Dr. Phil Huang, Director, Dallas County HHS.

Waiting in line for COVID-19 vaccine at Dallas’ Fair Park (CBS 11).

While local leaders work behind the scene to secure additional vaccine doses, they’re also working to convince reluctant communities that the vaccine is safe

“We need anyone, anyone who is still skeptical about taking this vaccine to know that this vaccine is safe,” says Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “And it is what we must do, what we must do, to get our lives back to normal.”

And Robert Natho couldn’t agree more.

“After 9 months of all this stuff, worrying about it, and feeling like there’s no hope. Now, we feel like there’s actually a way out of this thing, hopefully.”

Lynne Robinson says she’s eager to travel, again.

“I’ll just be so happy when we get the second one, and I just wish everyone else would start wearing a mask and sign up to get the shot,” says Robinson. “No big deal!”

Meantime, the Collin County Commissioners court voted Monday to contract with a private company to set up vaccination mega-sites in the county as soon as the Texas Department of State Health Services provides COVID-19 vaccine supplies in larger volumes to the county.

The court voted 5-0 to retain Curative Medical Associates for the mega-site locations and mobile clinics.

Curative has been running large-scale COVID-19 testing operations since last spring, and is set up to administer publicly allotted doses of vaccine under the guidelines set by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and vaccine manufacturers.

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