Local hospitals prepare for Moderna vaccine

HOUSTON – Twenty locations in Texas are receiving shipments of the Moderna vaccine Monday, according to state health officials.

United Memorial Medical Center in North Houston and CHI St. Lukes Health Brazosport in Lake Jackson are included.

Other facilities are preparing for their shipments this week, including OakBend Medical Center in Richmond.

“Now we have the vaccination, so as you come close, you don’t want to get it (COVID-19) and obviously you don’t want to give it to any of your family members, you just want to get out of this,” said Dr. Long Cao, Cardiologist, OakBend Medical Center.

OakBend is set to receive 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday or Friday.

“We’re gonna do the first responders first, doctors who are intimately involved with COVID patients because those are the high-risk and more exposed healthcare workers and then first responders could be the EMS, could be firefights, police officers,” said Cao.

The FDA approved the second COVID-19 vaccine in the US on Friday.

Shipments of the Moderna vaccine started rolling out Sunday and vaccinations will begin Monday at facilities nationwide. The CDC said essential workers and adults 75 and older can get vaccinated.

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit.

Moderna can be stored at -4 degrees Fahrenheit, making it easier for smaller hospitals like OakBend.

“The Pfizer vaccine, although it came out first, requires dry ice or special freezers that we don’t have so the logistics are simply, getting it in and once it gets in, the administration of the vaccine will be pretty straightforward,” said Dr. Ed Uthman, Pathologist, OakBend Medical Center. “We have to do the mask-wearing, the social distancing and the hand washing and we will, with the help of public cooperation and modern science, we’re gonna beat this pandemic.”

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