HOUSTON – It is a historic day in Houston and in the fight against coronavirus.
The first hospital workers in our area finally have what they need to begin fighting back against the coronavirus that’s been killing people in our community since early this year.
Memorial Hermann COVID ICU nurse, Robert Luckey, said he’s been caring for COVID-19 patients, even being their comfort while isolated from family and all while worrying about his own family at home since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We all have moms, dads, children that we want to protect so I think that’s the main idea,” he explained why he felt fortunate to receive the first vaccination in Houston.
There is a video for every truck that arrived at loading docks across Houston-area hospitals.
Ben Taub, UTMB in Galveston, Texas children’s Hospital, Houston Methodist Hospital, LBJ Hospital, CHI-St. Luke’s and Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center.
“This is the next step, the most important step to getting us back,” said Dr. James McCarthy, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System chief physician executive.
The process to vaccinate looked like this:
As soon as the vials made it off of the truck, the ones being used were thawed to room temperature in a little over half an hour.
The condensed liquid was then diluted, gently shaken and distributed into five doses.
The first five recipients in Houston were from Memorial Hermann’s COVID ICU, emergency departments, an infectious disease doctor and a respiratory therapist.
All of the doses in the deep freezers have to be used within six months.
“We’ll be using them much faster and we’ve got staff ready to go and lined up,” said, Dr. Anna Maria Macaluso Davidson, Memorial Hermann AVP of medical operations.
Per CDC guidance, the first tier of hospital staff to receive the vaccine will be those in direct contact with coronavirus. Shipments of more drugs will be delivered in the coming days and need to keep coming since all of these recipients will need a second dose in 21 days.
Moderna has a vaccine candidate with similar efficacy to Pfizer. Moderna’s vaccine doesn’t need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures, but it will require two doses.
The company is meeting with the FDA this week.
If they are granted emergency use authorization, there’s a chance this process of vaccinating the public could move faster.
However, the best hope for the majority of the population to have enough immunity to begin returning to normal will likely take us into spring or summer, according to Dr. McCarthy.