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'Vax-off' competition between Frio and La Salle counties boosts local COVID vaccination rates

Frio Regional Hospital will be on site at Polo Patino Park in Pearsall Sunday to offer free coronavirus vaccines.

PEARSALL, Texas — The counties of Frio and La Salle have challenged each other to a so-called "vax-off" to see who can vaccinate the most residents by mid-December...with the loser facing the dunk-tank treatment.

South Texas Rural Health Services completed well over 3,000 coronavirus vaccinations across the region, according to Dora Fast, a family nurse practitioner. Fast and crew were on standby Saturday afternoon, set up and ready to administer vaccines at Pearsall’s Hispanic Heritage Festival.

“It’s very vital for all the community to get immunized so we can stop the spreading and stop the pandemic at this time,” Fast said. “Smaller communities, compared to the urban communities, we have less access to providers.”

Guadalupe Hernandez longs for the day when she can finally get her young, currently ineligible son vaccinated. She believes boosting vaccinations, whether by monetary incentive or vax-offs, will lead to increasing protection across several rural communities.

“I think it’s good, a little friendly competition isn’t going to hurt anybody,” Hernandez said. “Especially for our elderly and our immunocompromised people so they will be protected.”

As for who will win the vax-off, Fast is keeping diplomatic, since she’s worked in both counties for years.

“My heart is divided so for me it’s a win-win situation. But it’s a nice healthy competition. I go for the two of them,” Fast said.

“Going to the different grounds, school grounds, fair like this one, this is one of the best ways to help the people.”

Frio Regional Hospital staff will be on site Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Polo Patino Park in Pearsall on Sunday to provide more free, no-appointed-needed coronavirus vaccines.