Vaccine site opens at UT Arlington to promote shot among young adults

From the federal to the local level, one of the main COVID vaccine strategies is convenience, especially when it comes to vaccinating young adults.

That’s one of the goals for Tarrant County’s newest vaccine site on the UT Arlington campus.

University staff member Catherine Soto was first to get a shot at the site. She says her daughter, a UTA student finishing up exams, will also get a shot here.

"I think it’s all about access. Access and convenience for the younger generation," she said. "They want to get it done they just want it to be convenient."

Others echo that sentiment.

UTA student Amy Okodaso graduates next week with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She believes the site on campus is a brilliant idea.

"I know people here who don’t know how to drive yet or don’t have people who can drive them to a location," she said. "So it’s really convenient at least for UTA students they know I already have the means to get to school every day."

"We are not allowed to mandate vaccination," said UTA Interim President Teik Lim. "But with that, we encourage every student, faculty and staff to get vaccinated."

The UTA campus site is set up and run by the UNT Health Science Center. It comes at a time when overall demand for the vaccine in Tarrant County has plummeted, a concern raised repeatedly by the county health director.

Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja says there is less emphasis now on mass vaccination hubs.

"We’re starting to see this shift in strategy in our community to bring the vaccine to the people instead of people coming to the vaccination sites," he said.

"Walk-up appointments are absolutely welcome," said Jessica Rangell, with UNTHSC Clinical Innovation.

The campus clinic can administer up to 630 doses a day and is open to anyone, not just UTA students and staff.

"They are going to start classes next semester in person," Okodaso said. "It’s definitely something that’s worth it to have it on campus. Good job, UTA!"