First doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered at Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

HOUSTON – The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine at Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center are set to be administered on Wednesday.

“We’re all very excited and we’re definitely ready to get rolling,” said Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, assistant chief of the medical care line.

The hospital received just under 3,000 doses, which will first go to frontline workers helping COVID-19 patients and veterans in the long-term care facility called the community living center, he said.

“Ultimately the plan will be to do all veterans and all staff, that’s the long-range ultimate goal,” Kulkarni said. “Obviously, we’re going to need more than 3,000 to do that.”

Houston is one of 37 sites within the VA chosen to receive the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, he said.

“We can sort of store it and handle it very well and we can vaccinate a large number of people,” Kulkarni said.

The Houston facility expects to receive more shipments in the near future so people who get vaccinated now can receive the second dose in a couple of weeks.