WACO, TX – In a landmark week for the COVID-19 that saw the United Kingdom administer its first Pfizer vaccine to a patient, local health officials are now preparing a plan for how vaccine distribution will look in Central Texas.
The U.S. has not approved mass distribution of a vaccine yet, but they may not be far off.
“We know that the FDA will be meeting about the Pfizer vaccine tomorrow,” says Kelly Craine, of the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. “If they approve it for emergency use, it will be available within the next few days at our local hospitals.”
The plan is to have a tiered approach to the vaccine rollout – meaning it will be distributed to the highest risk population first. This population includes frontline healthcare workers, nursing home residents and staff.
“We expand from there to people who are over the age of 65, people with chronic health conditions or serious medical conditions, and expanding that even beyond to teachers, to other people that might be considered an essential worker that we can’t afford to have sick,” Craine said.
Even with this tiered approach, people belonging to low-risk populations won’t have to wait long for the vaccine.
“We’re getting those first tier and frontline workers and essential personnel,” Craine said. “By February, we could all start receiving the vaccine.”
The vaccine will be a shot given in two doses either three weeks or four weeks apart – depending on the patient.
While some people fear the vaccine has been rushed and therefore hasn’t been properly tested, local health officials believe in the process.
“This vaccine has gone through one of the most transparent developments that we’ve ever seen in history,” Craine said. “We’ve never had a situation where vaccine manufacturers are putting out all of their studies as soon as they’re available.”
The city and the Public Health District have not yet discussed what city-wide restrictions will be lifted and when.