Local H-E-B pharmacies among those receiving first doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines this week
By LYNETTE SOWELL
As the first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were distributed last week in Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced this week’s rollout of the newly-approved COVID-19 vaccinations from Moderna.
Along with the Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus! and Gatesville H-E-B, which are both receiving 100 doses apiece, the Coryell Health Medical Clinic will be receiving 300 doses.
Over in Bell County, H-E-B pharmacies in Harker Heights, Belton, Salado, and Temple, the Trimmier and West Stan Schlueter Loop pharmacies in Killeen, along with Freedom Urgent Care in Harker Heights and Seton Medical Center are also receiving doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. No pharmacies in Lampasas County were named on the Week 2 list.
However, these vaccinations are not yet available for the general public, but will be reserved for the area’s frontline workers to include healthcare workers and first responders.
The company issued a statement regarding the vaccine rollouts.
“At H-E-B, the health and safety of Texans is our top priority. As a trusted source for all routine childhood and adult immunizations, H-E-B pharmacies will partner with the federal and state government to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to the general public, following the CDC distribution schedule. H-E-B is proud to continue our long-term tradition of taking care of Texans.
“Committed to the health and wellness of our customers and Partners, H-E-B pharmacies will partner with the federal and state government to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The government has set specific guidelines for distribution of the vaccine, which H-E-B will strictly follow. Once the government schedules distribution for the general public, all our H-E-B Pharmacies will offer the Covid-19 vaccine. Currently, at least one vaccine is approved for ages 16 and older.
“When it becomes available, our partners will be able to receive the vaccine based on the government’s distribution schedule. This schedule covers community health providers and includes pharmacies and clinics as well as essential workers.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is the second in two weeks that has been approved by a federal Food and Drug Administration panel for emergency authorization use.
On Thursday, the FDA panel voted 20 in favor, with one abstaining.
Emily Smith is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health at the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University and an adjunct Assistant Professor of Global Health in the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) at Duke University.
She weighs in about the two new vaccines on her website, www.emily-smith.net, where she has followed the virus, its transmission and implications, along with the treatments, breaking things down into layperson’s terms.
“Both (vaccines) are highly effective - between 94 percent to 95 percent. Both are mRNA vaccines. Neither will change your body’s DNA or contain a live virus (won’t make you sick with COVID-19),” Smith writes. “Side effects were very similar, mild, and similar to other vaccines on the market: pain at injection site, fatigue, mild fever.”
Smith cited some differences, namely that Pfizer’s vaccine was granted EUA for ages 16-plus and that Moderna’s vaccine is for ages 18-plus. Pfizer’s has to be stored at below zero temps, and Moderna’s vaccine does not require as cold of temperatures.
Severe allergic reactions were rare in Pfizer’s trial and all recovered, and none were reported in Moderna’s.
“We know from the data that both vaccines prevent symptomatic disease. What we do not know yet is if you can still be infected but you do not have symptoms, This is still good because that means you don’t get really sick with crazy symptoms that can land you in the hospital or last a long time like we see in long-haulers. But, this also means you need to still wear a mask if you get a vaccine until we know more.
As far as certain populations, such as pregnant women, the vaccine in children, she said data is still being collected.
Copperas Cove COVID-19 case numbers surpass 1,000
On Monday morning, the city of Copperas Cove released its weekly update for COVID-19 case numbers, and the total positive cases within the city limits broke the 1,000-mark, at 1,037.
That’s up from the 894 as of Monday, Dec. 14, or by 143 new cases in one week.
However, active cases increased by 23 to 318, with other prior cases now being deemed recovered/no longer active.
Coryell County had not updated its COVID-19 tracker by press time Monday. Its most recent update was on Wednesday, Dec. 16, which reflected a total of 368 active cases in the county, out of a total of 1,581 confirmed cases.
In the state of Texas overall, active cases were at 271,694 as of Sunday, Dec. 20.
Total positive cases rose to 1,404,675. Hospitalizations statewide were at 9,856.
Locally, in Trauma Service Region L as of Sunday, there were 152 hospitalized for COVID-19, a total of 12.46 percent of area hospitals’ capacities.