The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Atascosa County making its way to local pharmacies, clinics, ERs and the hospital. The state of Texas began Phase 1A on December 14 but the vaccine did not arrive in rural counties until last week. The vaccine distribution for Texas is currently in its third week. Phase 1A of the COVID Vaccine timeline includes two groups – direct care workers and long-term care residents.
DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, on Tuesday stated that Texas has now entered into Phase 1B even as Phase 1A continues. “All providers that have received COVID 19 vaccine must immediately vaccinate healthcare workers, Texans over the age of 65 and people with medical conditions that put them at great risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19,” he said. “No vaccine should be kept in reserve.”
For Phase One, if you are a healthcare worker, contact your employer. If you are a long-term care resident, contact your caretaker. Phase 1B includes specifically as outlined by DSHS:
• People 65 years of age and older
• People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
• Chronic kidney disease
• COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
• Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
• Solid organ transplantation
• Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
• Sickle cell disease
• Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Locally, the following facilities currently have the vaccine: H-E-B #411, 219 W Oaklawn Rd, Pleasanton, Kings Medicine, 809 Bryant Street, Pleasanton,
Quality Urgent Care, 2106 W. Oaklawn Rd, Pleasanton, Walgreens, 2070 W Oaklawn, Pleasanton, H-E-B Pharmacy #19, 19337 McDonald Street, Lytle. The vaccine will be provided free of charge. For people with insurance, insurance will cover any fee to administer it by the provider. People without insurance won’t be charged. All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development need two shots to be effective. Two doses will be needed from the same manufacturer, spaced 21 or 28 days apart. Full protection from the vaccine will occur usually 1–2 weeks after getting the second dose. The ability to get a vaccine today or this week will depend on vaccine availability at your provider’s office, clinic or facility. Please call ahead to your provider.
“We feel extremely privileged to be able to offer our community the opportunity for COVID-19 vaccination,” said Diki Reyes, FNP of Kings Medicine. “We have witnessed, first hand, the devastation this virus has caused, and we are ready and willing to do our part to help control the spread of COVID-19.”
It is estimated that everyone else will get the vaccine in Spring 2021 but that date may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.
“As a home health nurse, my passion is care for the elderly,” said Shana Eichman Baker. “When COVID struck, we immediately jumped into action to think of ways to protect them. To me, taking the COVID vaccine is another opportunity to help assure their protection. Pope Francis said, ‘It means protecting people. Showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.’”
According to the DSHS, information gathered in large-scale clinical trials and thoroughly reviewed by scientists at the FDA shows that the vaccines are safe and effective. Even though they found no safety issues during the clinical trials, CDC and other federal partners will continue to monitor the new vaccines. They watch out for serious side effects (or “adverse events”) using vaccine safety monitoring systems.
DSHS reports that you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. DSHS further reports that COVID-19 vaccines do not use the live virus and the vaccine does not alter DNA. DSHS states that the COVID-19 vaccination will help protect by creating an immune response without having to experience sickness.
Having symptoms like fever after a vaccine according to DSHS is normal and a sign the immune system is building protection against the virus. DSHS said that the side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may feel like flu, but they should go away in a few days.