HOUSTON - More than half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are coming to Texas in the next round of distribution.
They will be going to more than 1,100 providers including clinics, health centers, and pharmacies -- both large and small.
"It's almost like the Superbowl. I mean, there's such anticipation. It's been talked about for months and, now, the day is finally here," said Steve Hoffart, pharmacist and owner of Magnolia Pharmacy in Montgomery County.
About two months ago, he applied to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
On Thursday, he learned his store would get 500 of Moderna's vaccines.
The news was a welcomed surprise -- he expected his small business to receive them in early 2021.
"Being in a local community, to have access to something like this that can change the lives of our patients is quite something to be very proud of," he added. "It's exciting and we can't wait to get started in administering the vaccine."
The Department of State Health Services expects the vaccines will begin arriving in Texas on Monday.
They will be for healthcare workers and long-term care residents.
"We're having to develop protocols, workflow procedures to make sure we screen the right person," explained Hoffart.
He says his staff will be scheduling appointments and will try to vaccinate at least 12 patients an hour.
Dozens of HEB pharmacies in the Houston area are expecting thousands of Moderna's vaccine.
"Because this is something very exciting, brand new, there's a lot of logistics and changes that occur on a daily basis," explained Jeenal Nihalani, is HEB's Immunization Coordinator for the Houston region.
"It's like an early Christmas present to those in pharmacy and healthcare, in general, to be able to provide this vaccination to our customers and to our fellow healthcare professionals when needed," she added.
She and Hoffart look forward to getting the vaccine as well, and, eventually, providing it to the general public.
Hoffart says he has seen first hand the devastation COVID-19 has caused in his community.
"It really is a ray of light to know that we are on the cusp of being able to change and alter how this pandemic affects us," he concluded.