COVID Vaccine is Here!
By John Meng Managing Editor The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Jackson County!
The Jackson County Hospital District (JCHD) received 300 doses of the Moderna-brand vaccine last week and began administering the first inoculations on Monday.
JCHD Director of Nursing Tammy Zajicek, who is also in charge of vaccines, explained that the first doses will be given to healthcare workers and then to first responders, such as EMS, Sheriffs Office and city police personnel.
“Then we are opening it up to the geriatric population in the county,” said Zajicek. “We have had a really good response. Probably 150 people have already signed up. If we use all 300 doses, they will send us another allotment. So, we do need to use those.”
Zajicek said that she personally had a serious case of COVID-19 in July and was nervous about receiving the vaccine, but she did just take the Pfizer vaccine at Citizen’s Medical Center in Victoria and has no negative effects.
“I feel great. It was easier than the flu shot,” she said.
“There is no cost to the vaccine. The State just wants everyone to get vaccinated,” stated Zajicek, who noted that the only requirements for a person to receive the vaccine is that they must provide their full name, date of birth, phone number, and county of residence.
According to Zajicek, vaccinated persons will need a booster shot in one month. Also, eligible persons must live or work in Jackson County.
Thanks to a recent partnership with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and pharmacies across the country to increase access to the vaccine, particularly in rural areas, the vaccine will also be available at pharmacies such as Brookshire Brothers in Ganado, and Rogers Pharmacy and HEB Pharmacy both located in Edna.
According to HHS, the vaccine will be available in a phased approach. Doses will offer to healthcare workers and residents of long-term healthcare facilities in the first phase, followed by essential workers and other high-risk individuals. It is expected to be available to the general public by spring or early summer of 2021 and will be administered at no cost to patients.
Brookshire Brothers, an employee-owned grocery and pharmacy chain with a location in Ganado, issued a statement that the company was honored to partner with HHS and the states of Texas and Louisiana in offering vaccine. “
This is consistent with our commitment to being a trusted resource for our communities. Pharmacists and their staff are some of the most accessible healthcare professionals in the nation, and we stand ready to help increase access and convenience for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once it is approved and available to us,” said Laura Edmundson, director of clinical pharmacy programs at Brookshire Brothers.
Edmundson explained that many pharmacists, such as the ones who work at Brookshire Brothers, are trained to provide immunizations and are already important immunizers in their communities. Pharmacists have been heralded for playing a vital role in the public health response to COVID-19 by counseling patients and expanding access to childhood vaccinations during the pandemic.
Rogers Pharmacy in Edna will have doses of the vaccine soon and its management is eager to help the community.
“We’re extremely happy to be able to play a part in helping our community get out of this pandemic and getting things back to normal, said John Rogers, owner of Rogers Pharmacy in Edna.
“We are planning to offer the vaccine at our pharmacy in Edna. We are enrolled in the state with Medicare, and waiting for them to give us guidelines on when we’ll be receiving it. We don’t have a timeline yet. Hopefully it’ll be by the end of January,” said Rogers.
Rogers explained there are two phases to the distribution but the State is telling pharmacies that it wants to vaccinate as many people as possible and not get hung up on whether a person qualifies for a particular phase.
“The State wants to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.
While some people have expressed concern about taking the vaccine, Rogers said it is not worried and he and his staff will be taking it.
“The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) is the best in the world and it is giving these vaccines a stamp of approval. I know there has been some concern with how quickly the vaccine was developed. But I don’t have any concern about the safety of the vaccine. The FDA has approved it and they are the ‘gold standard’ across the world.”