BRYAN, TX — All eyes are on U.S. health officials as we wait for an approval of the coronavirus vaccine candidates from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna.
On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott announced Texas could receive 1.4 million doses this month.
“I definitely think it’s good news. The vaccines are going to be a very important tool in fighting this pandemic, and also the good news is how efficacious these vaccines have proven in trials thus far,” said Dr. Seth Sullivan, Brazos County Alternate Health Authority.
The first shipment of vaccines could arrive in Texas as early as December 14. Dr. Sullivan says Brazos County could see the vaccine sometime this month.
“What I think we can expect here is that, you know, within a matter of weeks, it’s not going to be months, but within weeks we will be receiving some shipments, but I think it’s clear that there is only going to be so many that are out first," Dr. Sullivan.
While the CDC is promising the State of Texas 1.4 million doses, Dr. Sullivan emphasizes that 1.4 million residents will not be vaccinated from the first shipment. Both vaccine candidates, Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses, which means roughly 700,000 individuals will be vaccinated with the first roll-out.
“We have to remember that this is a two-dose series, and so we have to adequately vaccinate folks. So we need two doses for each one person,” said Dr. Sullivan.
While healthcare workers are at the front of the line to receive vaccines, Dr. Sullivan says the COVID-19 vaccine will not be required like the influenza vaccine is for healthcare workers.
“There’s a strong encouragement there. Each healthcare organization will have to make its own decisions about the way they’ll approach their own plan in distributing this vaccine widely among its healthcare workers,” said Dr. Sullivan.
Many like Bryan resident Martin Nunez still have questions regarding the safety of the vaccine.
“We should ensure that it works and the side effects don’t over-weigh the benefits of course,” said Nunez.
Dr. Sullivan says the vaccine candidates show great promise and are safe for even the most vulnerable populations.
“We would not give a vaccine that we don’t think is safe. We wouldn’t do that to anybody,” he said.
So far there is only one shipment of 1.4 million doses expected to arrive in December. A second shipment is expected to arrive in January.