By Caroline Vandergriff

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dozens of North Texans were able to unexpectedly get the COVID-19 vaccine Monday, March 22, when the clinic at Fair Park in Dallas had leftover shots.

“This was awesome I could get in last minute,” said Dallas resident Stephanie Timko. “Dropped my phone, threw everything in my purse, ran out to my car – my husband didn’t even know I left the house – and got in line.”

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A tweet from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins led to the mad dash to Fair Park.

“We have 100 doses of @Pfizer left @fairpark First come first serve until we run out. Please hurry down to gate 2.”

“I saw it, was walking the dog, ran home, and made it here just in time,” said Michael Niehuus.

Edward Ruiz was also one of the lucky few to make it in before the gates shut at 6:40 p.m.

“So really without thinking about it, I just threw on my coat, grabbed my helmet, hopped on the scooter and went,” he said.

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The leaders of the vaccination efforts at Fair Park make sure no dose is ever wasted, but they typically only have less than a dozen left at the end of the day.

Monday’s storms forced crews to put a temporary pause on the operation as the pharmacy continued drawing up the doses, leaving 100 left for whoever could get there fastest.

“Dallas County, United States Army First Battalion and our FEMA representatives, are staying 2.5 hours in the rain, past closing time, to ensure that every last dose is given, every last drop is given,” said Battalion Chief Steve Lopez, incident commander for the site. “I think most of the residents that are getting the vaccine today know they were not in the 1A, 1B, or 1C categories, so they feel like they’ve kind of won the lottery by chance.”

Their gratitude was evident by the smiles on their faces.

“I was thinking today even, what would I tell my pre-COVID self, and unbeknownst to me here I am a year later getting this, so I couldn’t be happier,” said Dallas resident Erik Moss. “I think it’s been a long time since I actually felt the weight of this past year, and today it hit.”

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Those who got the vaccine hope the shot moves them on step closer to a brighter future.

Caroline Vandergriff