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Mass vaccination clinic at Pocono Raceway

Thousands of people got their first dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine at Pocono Raceway near Long Pond.

LONG POND, Pa. — Another mass vaccination site drew thousands of people to Pocono Raceway near Long Pond on Wednesday.

Patients got their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

"We've been looking forward to getting our vaccine since January. We were finally able to log on and schedule an appointment, and so we are here. Yeah, we are very happy," said Matt Kieselbach from Marshalls Creek.

COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in Monroe County.

Dr. Alex Benjamin is chief of infection control at Lehigh Valley Health Network and says this part of the Poconos is a priority.

"All the counties where we have hospitals are going up, but we've been particularly concerned about Monroe County but also because the vaccination rates in Monroe County are actually lower than the other four that we serve," said Dr. Benjamin.

Only about 2,000 appointments filled up at this clinic. Doctors tell Newswatch 16 as eligibility for vaccine starts to open up, it's important for people to look where mass clinics are happening to get everyone vaccinated.

At this clinic, 3,000 doses were available.

RELATED: How to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Pennsylvania

"It's probably the first time that we hosted a mass vaccination event where we didn't fill up almost immediately. I don't know if it's hesitancy on parts of the residents that can come to this area. I don't know if it's the location. I mean, I doubt it's the location because this is a popular place not far from the interstate highways. I don't think we are catching up to people. What I am most curious about is the state opening up eligibility for people to get vaccinated. It's something we are keeping our eye on, but we certainly still want to make vaccines available whether they come or not," said Dr. Benjamin.

Because a few hundred vaccines were still available, the health network reached out to nearby colleges to alert students to come to the track and get a vaccine now that the vaccine is open to people in the 1B category.