FORT HOOD, TX — Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (CRDAMC) administered the COVID-19 vaccine to hundreds of high-risk patients Monday.
Army officials say the medical center was one of the first in the country to start administering the Pfizer vaccine on December 15.
CRDAMC and Fort Hood first responders and medical personnel were also ensured the opportunity to receive the vaccine. Officials say thousands of medical personnel are now protected by the first of the two-dose vaccine.
For four days, the vaccine was available to all of CRDAMC personnel, deploying soldiers and the medical personnel of III Corps on a voluntary basis.
On December 21, the vaccine was made available to high-risk patients at CRDAMC. High-risk patients include those over 65 and those who have cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, those in an immunocompromised state, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, or type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Hundreds of patients arrived early on Monday to receive the vaccine. CRDAMC staff arranged them in groups of 30.
While patients waited as long as three hours, officials say they remained "upbeat and cheerful."
“The flow and overall process was much quicker than anticipated. The knowledge, education and thoroughness of the staff were nothing less than a 10 out of 10 stars for this type of operation. I am very grateful the vaccine was available and I was able to receive it,” said CRDAMC patient, Darren Coleman.
Medical center leadership were also happy with the vaccination process so far.
“The patients have been optimistic, patient and full of gratitude for the service. It is truly uplifting to be able to provide preventative medical services to these veterans, Soldiers, Family Members, and retirees. We have moved out as fast and safely as possible. Our goal is to ensure that the spirit of OPERATION WARP SPEED isn’t thwarted in the ‘last mile,’” said Col. Richard G. Malish, CRDAMC commander.
Officials say CRDAMC is expected to run out of its current vaccine supply by Tuesday, but more vaccines are coming.