LONG POND, Pa. — Folks lined up on the pavement at Pocono Raceway on Saturday. The wait in line was worth it for a shot folks have been wanting for quite some time.
"Like a whole new freedom, it really is," said Winnie Pas of Albrightsville.
"Once we get the second dose and the waiting period, then we get to go see the grandchildren! Yes!" said Sharon Shultz of Drums.
Three-thousand patients were able to get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at the mass vaccination clinic hosted at Pocono Raceway and put together by Lehigh Valley Health Network.
"The joy I see in people's faces. They are so appreciative. You can see smiles in people's eyes of how grateful they are for what we're doing. My goal would be to vaccinate every resident in Monroe County who wanted a vaccine. And I'm encouraging people when your time comes, please get vaccinated," said Elizabeth Wise, President of Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Though the cars moved slower than they normally do around the track, healthcare workers operated a lot like a Nascar pit crew.
"The easy part is giving the vaccine, quite honestly. That's the easy part. It's the pre-planning, and most importantly, it's the traffic. We don't want any of the area roadways to be blocked off. We're very conscientious to know exactly how many we can do in how many minutes," said Terry Burger with Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Burger says it takes under two-minutes to administer each vaccine. Then patients are asked to wait in their cars for fifteen-minutes afterward for observation.
"From start to finish, we've done time studies. It's definitely less than an hour. It's from 45 minutes to an hour, which is remarkable. I don't know any place you can go. You can't go to your doctor's office and get in and out in an hour and never leave your car. So, this is a very efficient way to mass immunize people," said Burger.
Staff says patients will have to do this again for the second dose. Some receiving the shot say that we're not quite at the finish line, but this is a step towards normalcy.
"I would say we're moving forward. Relief? Not really. We just have to see the outcome of everything," said Sharon McRae-Coe of Long Pond.