Prosper to provide assistance to seniors seeking vaccination

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
A closeup of coronavirus.

As residents of Prosper begin seeking Covid vaccinations, it has become evident that the process can be confusing.  Vaccination lists and supplies are based on counties, and Prosper has both Collin and Denton county residents.  Perhaps more confusing, the only way to be placed on the list is by using a computer and the internet to sign up for a vaccination.  It became clear to staff that some of the at-risk community in Prosper may not feel comfortable accessing the information this way.  A combined effort of first responders, the library staff, and parks and recreation staff worked together to meet this need. 

Fire Chief Stuart Blackingame said, “It came to our attention that some of our senior citizens may not have access to computers or may not know how to get on the vaccination list.  We are willing to walk them through the process and get them on the list.  Anyone needing assistance can contact us.

Prosper town staff reached out to senior citizens when the lists first became available.  “We have 155 senior citizens that subscribe to senior citizen newsletter,” Blackingame said.  “The parks staff reached out to about thirty of them and offered to walk them through the sign up process.  The library has set up a dedicated laptop with quick links just for seniors to use to sign up for the vaccination. We also sent out a message from the fire department side that said that we would be more than happy to help people sign up as well.”  

Because of the workload required to give vaccinations, Prosper first responders are working with McKinney fire department to deliver vaccinations there.  “The major hubs are using the Collin County waitlist,” Blackingame said.  “We send three people daily to help with vaccinations with the McKinney fire department.  It is very personnel taxing.  It takes 50-60 staff members per day to provide the vaccination, and only ten of those are giving the actual vaccinations.  There are staff members needed to get people signed in, to get the information reported to the state, to sit with people after the vaccination, etc.  It just takes a lot of people to make this happen.  We realized it would be better for our residents for us to work with McKinney and to help them out, rather than to try to do this all ourselves.  We still needed staff available for emergencies here.  We just do not have the staff numbers here to provide this service.” 

Residents are not required to sign up in the county in which they live.  Prosper residents in Denton county can sign up for the Collin county list and go to McKinney to get their vaccinations.  The Denton county hub is at the Texas Motor Speedway.  “We have sent people to help at the Denton county hub as well,” Blackingame said.  “They had fifty people vaccinating, this was just a massive endeavour.  The organizers and staff have made this such an efficient process, both in Denton and Collin counties.  The lines seem long but they really move people through as quickly as they can.”  

It is crucial that the organizers and staff follow the state requirements and enter the information in the state system.  “The state uses this system to know where to send the second doses,” Blackingame said.  “This is why it is so important for people to sign up on the county websites and for the staff to be so thorough.  I encourage people to sign up everywhere they can.  There is a private hub using the Collin county list in Plano, and people can sign up for that as well.  Once you get called for your vaccination, be sure to cancel the other places lists you are on.  That way it does not get too confusing.  It is just so important for our town’s health that those people that really need the vaccinations get them.”