Malinda Jones got her second COVID shot on Friday at UT Health Carthage.

Why? Because she said she felt it was the thing to do this day and time.

“I’d like to be safe, safe for myself and safe around my family and friends,” she said, later adding “I just think with all the deaths and the bad things that have happened during the last year, I just think it’s the right thing to do.”

As of Friday afternoon, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission was reporting Panola County had 3,337 people who had gotten at least one dose of a vaccine and 1,812 people who were fully vaccinated, out of an estimated eligible population of 18,462 adults.

Statewide, the number of doses administered in Texas topped 10 million on Friday, with 3.48 million people fully vaccinated and 6.81 million people who had been vaccinated with at least one dose.

The state has allocated 14.239 million doses and shipped 11.63 million doses.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said Friday over 30 percent of eligible Texans have received a vaccine and called it a significant milestone.

“Hitting 10 million vaccines today is a major accomplishment in our state’s continued fight against COVID-19,” Abbott said in a press release. “I want to thank all the healthcare workers and volunteers that made this milestone possible. However, the fight is not over. Vaccines are the most effective tool to combat COVID-19 in our communities, and we will continue to expand vaccine access for those who choose to get vaccinated. As more vaccines become available and eligibility opens to all Texans, I urge Texans who wish to get the COVID-19 vaccine to sign up to help us keep our communities safe.”

Friday’s vaccine clinic at UT Health Carthage was busy, with the hospital’s 100 allocated doses being administered every few minutes once patients checked in and filled out their forms. The shot itself took seconds to administer, but people were asked to wait for 15 minutes just to make sure no one had any immediate reactions.

Occupational Health/Nurse Educator Ashley Brewster said they had a full schedule that morning, and the wonderful nursing students at Panola College were generously helping hospital staff out with everything.

“Most people are really excited to be in here,” she said. “Sometimes we have people who are a little bit nervous, but overall most people are really excited to get it done and get started.”

Rachel Page was one of those who got her first round of Moderna on Friday, and she got the chance to say hello to Brewster while she did it — part of the draw in signing up for the Carthage clinic, she said.

“I’m getting the shot because I work at the junior high, so I just want to make sure that I help the kids there stay protected. My husband’s a state trooper, so help him stay protected at home and help my family stay protected,” she said.

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Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.