Even with a COVID-19 vaccine on its way to Texas, a nonprofit continued its efforts of supplying free PPE in Tarrant County.
Since September, the BarbaraCares Foundation has provided PPE to the community free of charge. The foundation’s executive director Xavier Sanders said the event Saturday at Parkside Missionary Baptist Church assisted more than 900 people, along with local agencies and organizations.
“Hope is on the horizon but until we get that vaccine, we want the community as safe as possible,” Sanders said. “I’ve been seeing a lot of people as I’ve been out and about, people with no masks on. We cannot let our guard down. These numbers are rising. The deaths are increasing and I tell everyone, I want to make it to get the vaccine.”
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it had authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the United States late Friday. On Saturday, FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn called the authorization a "milestone" reached during the pandemic.
“Our action comes as we are near the end of what has been truly a year unlike any other in modern times. While this year has been marked by tragedy, sadness, and sacrifice, it is also a year that has generated unparalleled scientific achievement that will resonate for many future generations,” Hahn said. “Let me be clear. Efficiency does not mean any cutting of corners. Medical products are still undergoing rigorous study and clinical trials. Important safety checks remain place.”
While distribution is in the works, Hahn reminded the public to remain vigilant as “inoculation will take time." According to federal guidelines on prioritization, frontline workers such as doctors, nurses and other health care workers are among the first in line to be offered the vaccine along with nursing home residents and employees.
Health leaders said it would likely be months before the vaccine is widely available to the general public.
Texas is two days away from receiving its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Greg Abbott (R)tweeted Saturday. The vaccine will be distributed immediately, he said.
In Tarrant County, eight hospitals are set to receive the vaccine in the following week.