County to stop mass COVID-19 vaccinations in June

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
The photo is of Donna Glenn, RN, TMC Director of Infection Prevention and Emergency Preparedness receiving the vaccine on Thursday, December 17, 202  from Shannon Foster, RN, TMC Employee Health Nurse.

Grayson County will no longer be holding COVID-19 shot clinics at the old Sherman High School as it attempts moves away from the crisis management part of its vaccination duties with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning June 1, there will no longer be shots given at the old Sherman High School. COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered on Tuesdays at the Health Department from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on a walk in basis.

"We have done our part," said Grayson County Judge Bill Magers during Tuesday's meeting of the Grayson County Commissioners. "When the vaccines were in short supply and the distribution chains were limited to take the lead and make sure that Grayson County residents had a reliable source of vaccinations. There are now other opportunities out there for folks to get vaccinations. The private sector is doing their part and so we are going to move away from mass vaccinations to just putting it into our Health Department wellness services like we would do anything else."

Magers said when the county started partnering with others to give out vaccines there were thousands of people on the county's waiting list and now there are about 58 people on that list.

Grayson County Health Department Director Amanda Ortez praised the Sherman Independent School District, Texoma Medical Center, Wilson N. Jones and the Grayson College nursing students for all helping to make the public vaccination program work in Grayson County.

 Ortez said the county had administered 23,598 doses of vaccines. The over all number of such doses administered in the county, as of Monday, she said, was 72,322. That equates to 36,041Grayson County residents who had been fully vaccinated according to information released on Monday by the Health Department and the Grayson County Office of Emergency Management.

Since the pandemic began, there have been more than 11,343 test confirmed cases of the virus in county residents. There have been 366 COVID-19 related deaths of county residents during that time period. 

The county will also be offering the Pfizer vaccine to children 12 years old or older but their parents or guardians must be present to have that vaccination administered to a child.

Grayson County Health Department Director Amanda Ortez and GC Sheriff's Office Capt. Sarah Bigham talk to commissioners Tuesday.

The active cases in Grayson county started off slow with the county beginning to issue daily statements about the number of cases on April 18, 2020. By May 15, the county was reporting up to 175 active cases a day.

Though the numbers went up and down daily, by Oct. 23 the county had reported a daily active total of 189, and by the end of the month, the daily total was in the 200s. It hit 300 by November and was in the 400s by the middle of the month.

By the middle of December, the county had reported an active daily number of cases in the 500s. Then on Dec. 28, the county reported an active daily case count would be 761, a high that would hold until Jan. 6 when the daily active case number was 773. 

From the high, the active case numbers would start to decline as slowly as they built. By the late spring, both the new cases and active case numbers had dropped off significantly. 

The numbers of active cases began to decline as the number of vaccinations locally increased. In late January, the county partnered with SISD, TMC and Grayson College to offer shots at the old SHS. Then as winter gave way to spring, more local providers like pharmacies and even grocery stores began to offer the vaccine. 

 Free testing for the virus began at the Sherman office of the Grayson County Health Department in the early stages of the pandemic and would increase to sites at Austin College, Grayson College and one site in Denison before being consolidated to Midway Mall in December.