What it’s like to go through a drive-thru coronavirus vaccine clinic

Doctor on frontlines of COVID-19 fight sounds note of caution

On the second day of drive-thru vaccinations at NRG Park, KPRC 2 Investigates got an inside look at the lifesaving process.

HOUSTON – On the second day of drive-thru vaccinations at NRG Park, KPRC 2 Investigates got an inside look at the lifesaving process.

Arthur Broussard was able to get the vaccine during the Memorial Hermann clinic. Among the questions he was asked were: “Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days?” and “Do you have a picture ID for us?”

“That was not bad,” Broussard said after getting the vaccine. “It was about like receiving the flu shot.”

Unlike the flu shot, however, the COVID-19 vaccine has a long waitlist and a limited supply. There are also questions regarding whether there are enough professionals to administer medicine’s latest innovation.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Follow the latest vaccine news in our special section

“My plan is, you send them, we get them, we dispense them,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner last Thursday.

As we’ve seen during the early phases of the rollout, supplies drive everything. Turner alluded to that point.

“The degree to which we fill in our infrastructure is based on the quantity that we receive,” the mayor said.

Turner’s message Monday morning regarding vaccinations within the city: “It will be some drive-thrus. Again, (it’s) all based on what we receive and how much we can do.”

Dr. Joseph Varon, who has become a familiar face in Houston during the pandemic, said he’s working with the city to plan those drive-thru locations.

“The city has already told us about at least a couple of them,” Varon said. “One is going to be at Delmar, Delmar Stadium.”

The Houston Health Department’s official stance is that there is nothing to announce at this time.

“Delmar is a site we are considering but it’s not a confirmed site,” said an HHD spokesman via email.

Varon does see the process inspiring vaccinations.

“The fact that we are making it easy by having drive-thru facilities, it is likely to bring more people to get vaccinated,” Varon said.

When aksed where he would send his mother?

“I would bring her to a hospital to get the vaccine in a hospital,” he said without hesitation. The reason? Hospitals are more prepared to handle a worst-case scenario.

Varon voices concerns about drive-thru clinics

Medical personnel provided Broussard with advice, informing him he would have to wait to be observed for fifteen minutes. One worker told him that if he starts to feel side effects, “Blow your horn and wave to someone and they will come over.”

Varon has concerns, especially since some cars have tinted windows

“How can you truly see inside what is going on?” Varon asked.

RELATED READ: About 14,500 people vaccinated during Memorial Hermann’s drive-thru clinic

Varon understands logistics with drive-thru operations. His facility, United Memorial Medical Center facility has given over 300,000 tests since spring. He revealed that he is involved with the city’s plans for a drive-thru site telling KPRC 2 Investigates specifics on what he plans on having, including emergency kits, oxygen supplies and defibrillators.

Varon also admitted that the characteristics and demands of a drive-thru site make the process more challenging.

“Absolutely, because you have to make sure that the temperature is adequately kept,” Varon said. “You cannot keep it too warm because they go bad. Those are important things that we have to do.

“We are guarding these vaccines with our lives,” he added.


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