Protecting The Protectors

El Campo Memorial Hospital medical surgical department staffer Theresa Rosiles gets the first of two Moderna COVID-19 inoculations Thursday from RN Katrina Jernigan. 

Preparing to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to the public, El Campo Memorial Hospital has already immunized most of its staff and area first responders.

The hospital will establish a distribution point and follow state guidelines for administering them.

The governor’s vaccination priority plan puts seniors and those with chronic medical conditions putting them at risk for COVID-19 into Phase 1B to be distributed after hospital staff and first responders.

“We will have a clinic and it will be first come first serve and they will have to bring proof of their condition and their age and driver’s license,” Senior Administrative Assistant Irma Rocha said Friday, adding the hospital will announce when and where vaccines will be administered when it is ready to proceed.

Doses must be distributed to 10 people at a time, the number of shots in a vaccine vial.

“The vaccine must be drawn up in a syringe and rest for 15 minutes prior to administration. This process is time consuming and driven by numbers,” Rocha said.

ECMH received its first shipment, 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine, on Tuesday, Dec. 29.

An unidentified ICU nurse received the first shot.

“We are in the process of administering to all hospital and clinic employees who accepted the vaccine. We will complete this process this Friday,” Rocha said Thursday.

Not all of the more than 300 employees on staff opted to take the immunization, she said, but did not release exact numbers.

“This past Saturday we also vaccinated all the area first responders (EMS, police, etc.),” Rocha said. “Over 90 of these front-line workers were vaccinated.”

She estimated the number of vaccines given at 250.

Texas Hospital Association urges the public to be patient as vaccine distribution begins.

Vaccines are only available in limited quantities and certain populations, especially health care providers and first responders, take precedence.

People are urged to check their eligibility via state guidelines.

“We’re in this together, and we’re asking folks to be mindful of an organized approach. Health care workers are moving as fast as possible to get shots in arms,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO.

The CDC will deliver 167,300 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Moderna and 37,050 doses of the Pfizer vaccine directly to Texas providers next week. It is unknown how many doses will arrive in Wharton County.

An additional 121,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed statewide for nursing home staff and residents.

Texas has been allocated about 1.5 million first doses through the first four weeks of vaccine distribution.

People can find more information on COVID-19 vaccine and its availability at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx.

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