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'We had somebody that drove from Dallas today' | Texans drive hours for COVID-19 vaccine

A newly designated hub, one hospital gave out their very first COVID-19 vaccinations Friday morning, which many waited hours on the phone to get.

HOUSTON — Friday, the City of Houston received 9,000 new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, but those hundreds of new appointments filled up in just minutes.

But some people are going to great lengths -- and distances -- to get that first dose.

“We couldn’t wait to get here to do it," Jodie Mitchell said.

Jodie and Donna Mitchell crossed county lines Friday to get their COVID-19 vaccine in Liberty County.

“She’s very sick, and I have to hide in my house, and I'm sick of it," they said. “You have no idea how much stress is off.”

They came in from New Caney, but some drove farther than that.

“We had somebody that drove from Dallas today," said Cassie Kavanaugh, Chief Nursing Officer for Emergency Hospital Systems. “We’re instructed to give it to anybody across the state of Texas, and so that’s what we did.

Friday was a good day for Texas Emergency Hospital.

“It has been absolutely amazing," said Patti Foster, Chief Operations Officer for Texas Emergency Hospital. “The genuine happiness that they have to get this vaccine has just been so touching to all of our staff.”

A newly designated hub, the hospital gave out their very first COVID-19 vaccinations Friday morning, which many, like Jodie and Donna Mitchell, waited hours on the phone to get.

“Just started hitting the dial button, and I finally got in. And wonderful people," Jodie Mitchell said.

But the high demand for that first dose will likely stick around.

“That demand, I think, is going to last a while," said Dr. Daivd Lakey, Chief Medical Officer with the University of Texas System.

Dr. Lakey has crunched the numbers, the demand versus supply, and he expects those outside the 1B category won’t get vaccinated until May or even June.

“I think we have to be realistic with it, that if you aren’t over the age of 65, and you don’t have health conditions, it’s probably going to be in the summer before it’s available," Dr. David Lakey said.

He hopes new vaccines will speed up that timeline, but for now, many say the waiting, the watching and the driving is worth it.

“Just that freedom of ‘OK, we’re safe,’” Jodie Mitchell said.

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