HOUSTON - With both Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines appearing to be more than 90 percent effective, Houston health officials say they could be available to the public in the Houston area as early as mid-December.
A lot of big questions remain about the COVID-19 vaccines, whether those questions come from people anxious to take the vaccine or anxious to avoid it.
One Houston man is among the 30,000 people participating in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trail.
“They took my blood and gave me a shot—a shot in the arm—and it was a deep shot,” said Keith Sullins.
Keith Sullins will be monitored by Moderna for the next two years after receiving two shots--one in early October and one in early November--as part of the COVID-19 vaccine trail.
Sullins is the president of Papa Johns Houston, and Moderna chose him as a participant in part because of the large number of people he comes into contact with each day in the restaurant business, giving him a greater potential for exposure to the virus.
Sullins told FOX 26 he hasn’t had side effects since getting the shots. “Since the time I got the shot, I’ve felt fine,” said Sullins. “I’ve never felt one- not one weird feeling.”
Houston health department is working throughout November to make sure providers in Harris County are registered to receive direct shipments from the vaccine manufacturers.
Providers will include doctor’s offices, clinical offices, pharmacies, and hospitals. So far they’ve registered 460 providers throughout Harris County, and residents could get the vaccine as early as a month from now.
“It looks like right now it’s probably gonna be rolled out in mid-December,” said Omar Salgado, Houston Health Department’s immunization bureau chief. Phase one of the vaccine rollout will ensure those determined to be most at risk of the virus get the vaccine first.
“The first phase is gonna be those that are first responders, those that are in the medical field, those that are 65 and older, and those that have preexisting medical conditions,” said Salgado.
Texas Department of State Health Services is working with the vaccine manufacturers to ensure providers statewide get ahold of the vaccines as soon as they’re ready.
“Texas tends to get about ten percent of the nation’s vaccine supply, so that’s what we’re expecting,” said Chris Van Deusen with Texas DSHS.
Van Deusen says anyone who wishes to avoid the vaccine is free to do so.
“It’s voluntary of course,” said Van Deusen. “It’s not a situation in which the vaccine’s going to be mandatory.”
Salgado says the Houston Health department will likely publish an interactive map once the vaccine is ready for the public so that people can see exactly which providers in the Houston area are offering the vaccine.