First coronavirus vaccines expected to arrive in Houston early Sunday

Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine could arrive in Houston early Sunday morning, according to Memorial Hermann Health System. The first frontline healthcare workers could receive the vaccine the same day. 

"It provides a source of relief for our healthcare workers," said Dr. David Callender, its President and CEO, on Friday.

In this photo illustration, a man holds a syringe with a fake Covid-19 vaccine with the Pfizer logo in the background. (Photo Illustration by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


Memorial Hermann Health System will receive more than 16,000 doses -- the most of any local health system. 

Dr. Callender says it will be enough to cover almost all workers who directly care for COVID-19 patients.

In total, 21 Houston area hospitals will be getting the vaccine. 

All are part of the major health systems in Galveston, Fort Bend, Montgomery, and Harris counties including Houston Methodist, Texas Children's Hospital, MD Anderson, and Ben Taub and LBJ hospitals which are part of the Harris Health System.

The hospitals all have the deep freezers necessary to store the vaccine.

As the tide begins to turn in the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, President and CEO of  Harris Health System, says the battle is far from over. 

"The vaccine is not going to be a panacea," he said.

He urges people to continue taking measures that are known to prevent the spread of the virus, like wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

"If we can do this for the next 90 days, come springtime, we should be in a much better situation," Dr. Porsa suggested.

In this first round, Texas is getting more than 224,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine -- they're going to 109 hospitals in 34 counties.