Parkland Begins Vaccinating Staff; Doctors Discuss Safety, Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccine

The initial doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Methodist Dallas Medical Center on Monday

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Parkland Memorial Hospital, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Texas Health Resources in Fort Worth are among the 19 Texas hospitals set to receive 75,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.

The first wave of frontline health care workers received the vaccine at Methodist Dallas Medical Center Monday. Vaccinations began at about 10:10 a.m. with the first shot going to 51-year-old Teresa Mata, an environmental services employee who cleans the emergency room at Methodist Dallas, spokesman Ryan Owens said. Mata said she was excited to be the first person to receive it and “wanted to take the risk” because she is diabetic.

“I love my job, but I wanted to protect other persons. I wanted to protect my family and I wanted to protect myself,” Mata said.

Initial doses of the vaccine will go almost entirely to frontline health care workers.

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Critical care nurse Tony Chris Nnaka gets the COVID-19 vaccine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Dec. 15, 2020.

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
Parkland Memorial Hospital and UT Southwestern in Dallas and Texas Health Resources in Fort Worth are among the 19 Texas hospitals set to receive 75,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

UT Health Austin-Dell Medical School will vaccinate over 2,900 health care providers, including faculty, residents and medical students, over the next 10 days, according to Amy Young, a chief clinical officer at the teaching hospital. Staff vaccinations will be staggered to always maintain a critical workforce in place.

“Part of the reason this is so exciting is that this is our community and the world’s first step to combating this virus going forward,” Young said.

But Young cautioned that “hope on the horizon” is no excuse to ease up on personal responsibility. She implored people to still avoid gatherings, stay six feet away from each other and wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible.

Staff members who interact with COVID-19 patients at Methodist Dallas Medical Center were among the first people in the country to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero reports that those who took it say it filled them with hope.

Officials from Texas Medical Center in Houston urged the public to have trust in the vaccine. Dr. Paul Klotman, president of the Baylor College of Medicine, said in a press conference that getting vaccinated is helpful to both the individuals and their communities.

“The thing about everyone pitching in, do it for yourself because it will help protect you, but when you get the herd immunity it will help protect people who are unable medically to get the vaccine,” Klotman said.

Texas has seen 24,400 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began, which is second only to New York in overall death count, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins. One in every 332 people in Texas tested positive for the virus in the past week.

On Monday, Texas health officials reported 8,771 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26 more deaths. The Department of State Health Services also reported 804 probable cases and 9,304 people hospitalized with the virus.

Copyright The Associated Press and NBC 5 News
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