‘A historic moment’: More hospitals in San Antonio receive first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine

Some health care workers were given their first doses Thursday afternoon

SAN ANTONIO – It’s a day San Antonio hospitals have been waiting for all year long, and for some, it’s finally here.

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital - Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio State Hospital, and Baptist Health System received their first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Thursday morning. Some of the healthcare workers at these facilities were vaccinated as early as Thursday afternoon.

CHRISTUS officials released video of the vaccine arriving at their facility, transporting the doses to a special storage freezer and thawing them before administering the vaccines to some of its employees.

Laura Aston, a registered nurse at CHRISTUS, was one of the first employees to receive the vaccine.

She said she decided to get vaccinated in an effort to protect herself and those around her.

At the Brooke Army Medical Center, the first staff member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine was Army Capt. Rebecca Parrish, who has been serving on the front lines since the start of the pandemic.

“I’m ready to eradicate this virus,” said Parrish, who is a COVID-19 intensive care unit nurse.

Senior Airman Marisol Salgado, medical technician, administers a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Army Capt. Rebecca Parrish, a COVID-19 intensive care unit nurse, Dec. 17, 2020 at Brooke Army Medical Center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Parrish was the first BAMC staff member to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. (U.S. Army photo by Corey Toye) (Brooke Army Medical Center)

BAMC will expand the availability of the vaccine to more front line employees in the coming days.

The group of workers that were vaccinated Thursday include intensive care unit and emergency department staff involved in “direct patient care,” BAMC officials said.

Other employees that will be vaccinated in the first phase at BAMC include inpatient and outpatient healthcare and support personnel, emergency services and public safety personnel.

“This is a historic moment for BAMC,” said Army Col. Michael Wirt, deputy commanding officer, in a statement. “We are excited to launch this program today, focusing on our frontline staff, and look forward to expanding it to additional BAMC clinical and support teams in the days ahead.”

State hospitals in Austin, San Antonio, Terrell and Wichita Falls also received their first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine. All of these facilities were chosen to receive the first batch of vaccines based on their size and number of employees.

Each hospital received 975 doses of Pfizer vaccine and all 3,300 employees at the four hospitals will be offered the vaccine, according to the Texas Human and Health Services website.

Some of the front line workers have already received their first round of the vaccine.

If some staff members at the state hospitals choose not to get vaccinated, they will be required to undergo testing on a regular basis, officials said.

Baptist Health System vaccinated some of its front line medical personnel with their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as well on Thursday.

Officials with BHS said they expect to receive a total of 3,900 doses of the vaccine this week.

So far, 110 Texas hospitals have received or will receive their first shipments of the vaccine by the end of this week. However, some rural hospitals are still waiting to see when they will get their share.

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