It’s finally spring and the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is picking up speed. According to data from the CDC, one quarter of the American population had received at least one dose of the vaccine (and undoubtedly this number will continue to go up after we hit ‘publish’).

Many of us now know family, friends, neighbors and colleagues who have been vaccinated. In fact, a number of your favorite Yonder-ers were fortunate to receive one or both shots in recent weeks.

Gallery caption: Members of the Daily Yonder team recently received their vaccinations, including above, clockwise from top left, accounting and operations coordinator Teresa Collins, chief operations officer Marty Newell, publisher Dee Davis, associate editor Jan Pytalski, and editor Tim Marema.

In rural communities, some folks are getting vaccinated at local drug stores, others are driving hours to big pharmacies. In remote parts of Alaska, vaccines have arrived by sea plane, dog sled, and water taxi.

In one southeast Texas county, inoculation and community go hand-in-hand. Read a dispatch from Washington County below and then tell us: what have Covid-19 vaccinations been like in your neck of the woods?

A Dispatch from Washington County, Texas

Written and submitted by Bill Bishop, contributing editor for the Daily Yonder

We pulled our car into one of fourteen long lines at the Washington County (Texas) Covid vaccination “subhub” and the party began. First we saw Rebecca, a neighbor, hawking Girl Scout cookies. Rebecca, a retired professor of social work, was in line for her shot, but she brought along a box of her granddaughter’s cookies to sell. Rebecca doesn’t like to waste time.

Then we saw Anna Katherine and Pam, two friends from the Presbyterian Church; they came in about five minutes after we arrived. On the next line over were four neighbors who carpooled the 45-minute drive from La Grange to Brenham. And one more lane over was Glenn (one of our co-hosts for a yearly Christmas polka party) and Charlie, the long-retired town barber who likes to greet passersby from his lawn chair. Charlie knows everybody.

Welcome to our part of Central Texas. Put 5,000 people randomly in a parking lot and you are bound to know a dozen or so.

There was only one rural “hub” in Texas for Covid vaccinations. It was in the heart of Senator Lois Kolkhorst’s district. That was not a coincidence. It helps to have a [state] senator on the committee that designed the vaccine rollout.

The hub was set up at the Washington County Fairgrounds. You turned into the main entrance, pulled past the rodeo arena and then got your jab in one of the show barns (Just like with cattle, only there was no head gate). Never had to get out of the car. We were in and out in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Not one hitch, one cross word or one question. Everybody was happy. It was a remarkable organizational feat. Faith Mission in Brenham designed the system but everyone pitched in, from extension agents to the National Guard. Churches around here regularly put on takeaway dinners for 10,000, and this hub ran the same way. You pulled in, did a little paper work and rolled through the line. Only this time you came away with a bandaid on your shoulder rather than a barbecued chicken dinner.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you have a rural vaccination story? Who’s offering vaccine clinics in your community? Was it difficult for you to get an appointment? Difficult to access a vaccination site? Were you called in from a “waste list” in an effort to use every available dose?

Send your rural vaccine stories and photos to us and we’ll share some of our favorites. Please remember to cover up any personal information that might be on your vaccine card if you take a photo with it.

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