As frontline workers get their first dose of the vaccine, the exhausting work of caring for COVID patients continues. As Dr. Temple Howell-Stampley walks the halls of UT Southwestern Medical Center, she recognizes that we are, by no means, in the clear. The virus is still raging and those on the frontlines are still in the trenches with patients.
“Folks are still working hard, folks are still in the grind, they’re still taking care of patients,” said Howell-Stampley, a medical doctor and professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern.
Vaccines have arrived in Texas and the first rounds are being administered. Still, Howell-Stampley and her colleagues say mitigation is still key, and masks and distancing are still necessary.
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“We know that this is far from over,” she said. “The vaccine is just one thing that is going to help.”
She does admit, however, she’s noticed a bit of a shift among her fellow frontline workers. It’s a small shift, but one in the right direction as more of them become vaccinated.
“People are expressing a lot of hope,” said Howell-Stampley. “They’re happy to be a part of this process as well and they’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Howell-Stampley got the vaccine several days ago and said she feels she made the right decision.
“As most folks likely felt, I was a little bit anxious about the vaccine. Operation ‘Warp Speed’ gave me a little pause. However, I really took the time to dive into the literature and the data,” she said.
She said she’d like to serve as an example to those on the fence about whether to trust the vaccine. And feeling more encouraged by the day.
“It is tough but if we band together, we can do this,” she said. “And there will be a brighter day on the other side.”
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.