While the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Methodist Dallas Medical Center Monday with more slated to arrive at three additional North Texas hospitals Tuesday, health officials are urging people to remain committed to social distancing and mask-wearing.
The timeline for a vaccine’s availability to the general public remains uncertain but it is months away.
“Everything that I have heard it is probably going to be March, April and May before a lot of people who don’t have underlying conditions that are young and healthy will get the vaccine,” said W. Stephen Love, president of the DFW Hospital Council.
He said local epidemiologists advised him it will likely be this summer or fall, at the very earliest, before life will begin to slowly return to normal. Even then, many safety procedures -- including masks and social distancing -- will need to be in place for the foreseeable future.
“Plan on wearing a mask for the next four to six months," Love said. "We still cannot let our guard down."
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“I am very excited, they tell me I’m the first person to take the vaccine,” said Teresa Mata, who cleans rooms in the emergency department at the hospital.
Mata was the first to get the vaccine, followed by other frontline staff, including doctors and nurses.
“It is an emotional and exciting day," Methodist Dallas ER Dr. Zachery Dreyfuss said. "We have been dealing with this since March. This is the beginning hopefully of the end of the pandemic."
Parkland Memorial Hospital and UT Southwestern in Dallas and Texas Health Resources in Fort Worth are among 19 more Texas hospitals scheduled to receive shipments of the vaccine Tuesday.
The remaining 16 Texas hospitals scheduled to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 Tuesday include:
- Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Amarillo
- Christus Spohn Health System Shoreline in Corpus Christi
- Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg
- UT Health RGV in Edinburg
- El Paso University Medical Center
- University of Texas Medical Branch Hospital in Galveston
- Texas Children's Hospital in Houston
- LBJ Hospital in Houston
- CHI St. Luke's Health in Houston
- Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston
- Houston Methodist Hospital
- Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston
- Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock
- Shannon Pharmacy in San Angelo
- Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple
- UT Health Science Center in Tyler
The remaining 86 sites receiving vaccinations for the first week of distribution are expected to receive their shipments later in the week, state health officials said. Click here to read the full list.