Healthcare workers, first responders, elderly to get vaccine first. 'But we’ll all have a chance.'


By SARA VANDEN BERGE


As shipments of the Covid-19 vaccine continue to make its way to hospitals across the U.S., many people, including me, are wondering when they will get a chance to become vaccinated.


I asked Stephenville’s health authority Dr. Kelly Doggett what he knows about the timeline, and this is what he said.


"I’ve been in contact with the Division of Regional Local Health Operations of the Texas Department of State Health Services trying to get specifics. So far, I’ve been unsuccessful.


"The situation is fluid and developing by the minute. From what I understand, the Governor’s office is in charge of who receives the vaccine and when.


"Large metro hospitals in hotspots will receive the vaccine first and those providing direct patient care to Covid will get the vaccine first.


"To be a provider through the state one has to go through a registration process, and I, along with other local providers and entities, have done this.


"One problem is that the vaccine has to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures. To my knowledge, no one in Stephenville currently has this capability.


"Subsequent variations of vaccines will be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures and will only require one dose instead of two with essentially the same protection.


"In Stephenville and Erath County, we will have opportunities for everyone that wants to be vaccinated to get one, but we’ll need to be patient. It’s likely to be weeks or even months before that happens.


"I don’t think anyone needs to get on a list because likely recipients will be prioritized according to need and level of risks. First-line healthcare workers, first responders and elderly in long-term care facilities will get the first available rounds of vaccine.


"But we’ll all have a chance. We just have to hang in there and continue with non-pharmacological interventions and stay the course in the interim.”

Dr. Kelly Doggett

‘WHEN IT’S AVAILABLE…I’M GOING TO TAKE IT’


Even with the hope that a vaccine can finally get things back to normal, some say they won’t take it until long-term studies are complete.


But many doctors and other healthcare professionals say they have full confidence in its safety.


“Data indicates that it is both safe and highly effective,” Dr. Doggett said. “About 10 to 15 percent of people experience mild to moderate side effects. Some feel ill or flu-like for 24 hours.


“The vaccine triggers a very strong immune response. Those that have severe allergic reactions and have a history of anaphylaxis may not want to take the vaccine or at least may want to discuss it with their physician.


“When it’s available, whatever manufacturer, I’m going to take it."