San Antonio veterans hospital could receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as next week

Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital is readying to begin its first-wave vaccine distributions

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio hospitals are preparing to receive their first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccines, as both the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine are nearing final approval.

Among these hospitals is the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, which could receive its first vaccine delivery as early as next week.

“When you see something like a vaccine being available soon and you will have the opportunity to get the vaccine, I think it brings a lot of hope and excitement to both our staff and our veterans,” said Peter Trang, chief of pharmacy at the veterans hospital.

It’s unclear how many doses of the vaccine the hospital will receive. However, Trang said the facility expects additional deliveries after the first round.

“It will be a first wave delivery for our facility, and we expect subsequent deliveries after that,” Trang said.

The vaccine will need to be stored in a freezer to extend its shelf life. Trang said the vaccine doses will be stored in a freezer in the hospital’s pharmacy department.

“The freezer basically extends the life of the vaccine. If we had kept it in the Pfizer vaccine delivery container, it would only be good for 10 days. Having it and having the freezer option extends to almost six months,” Trang said.

Health care workers will be among the first in the state and the nation to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations. Trang says after the hospital conducted a survey among staff to gather input on the vaccine, he said the majority is in support of taking it.

“The first survey, we were able to get about 1,000 responses. So about 66% were interested in receiving the vaccine,” Trang said.

Veterans in long-term care facilities will also be among the first patient groups to be vaccinated.

Overall, with a COVID-19 vaccine almost ready for distribution, Trang said it provides a glimmer of hope as cases continue to surge in the area.

“A light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully with long effectiveness once you get vaccinated,” Trang said.

More vaccine information will be posted at www.southtexas.va.gov and on Facebook/Twitter at SanAntonioVAMC.

RELATED: US government panel endorses Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

About the Authors: