HOUSTON - The first people in Houston and Galveston were vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday after boxes containing thousands of doses of the vaccine arrived at seven different area hospitals.
Hundreds of front line workers from each hospital volunteered to get the vaccine immediately after it was sent to the hospitals from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“I feel really fortunate to be able to be the first person to have actually received the vaccine, considering how many people have been impacted by the COVID-19 itself,” said Robert, a registered nurse in the Memorial Hermann COVID-19 Unit.
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)
UTMB Galveston received a 10 a.m. shipment of about 3,000 vaccine doses. By 1 p.m., employees of the hospital were getting vaccinated.
“I think when you set an example, I think that’s the most important thing,” said Chris Perez, a physician in internal medicine at UTMB Galveston. “As physicians, that’s our calling to do that.”
“I am definitely relieved,” said Rosario Mendoza, a registered nurse who treats COVID patients at UTMB Galveston. “My life has changed a lot. I’ve slept on the couch for months.”
Several hundred people will be vaccinated each day at the hospital until the supply runs out, but hospital officials say they expect they’ll get weekly shipments of the vaccine.
The chair of UTMB’s Covid 19 vaccine preparedness task force told FOX 26 once hospital staffers have been vaccinated, high-risk patients will be next in line.
He says it may be a matter of months before the vaccine is available to the general population.
The vaccinations of the medical staff are all voluntary since it is an FDA emergency authorization of a vaccine that is still in trial, but the medical leaders at UTMB said they hope to mandate the vaccine at a later date.