Covid-19 pandemic vaccinations are now becoming the norm in our society. At least temporarily. Del Rio and every other town and city across the country are attempting to achieve herd immunity through the promise of a shot or two.
Locally, thousands of folks have received at least one of their doses, but thousands more are awaiting the green light from the state, and it could be months before everyone is vaccinated.
“We have to wait for the state…the guidelines to open us up 1C, (Phase 1C) which is going to be more to the general population, but that hasn’t opened yet,” said John Sheedy, emergency management director for the City of Del Rio.
On March 15, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) rolled out Phase 1C, which opens up the vaccination to people between 50 and 64.
Sheedy said a rough projection for the completion of the vaccinations is September but is basically contingent upon the availability of doses from the state, which requires enrollment in an allocation program for vaccine providers.
Phase 1A and 1B of the vaccination program include people over 65, those with underlying medical issues, frontline health care workers, first responders, teachers, public transit and grocery store workers.
In the early stages of the vaccinations, Val Verde Regional Medical Center administered the inoculations through its issued supply, but the city/county is now using their allotted vaccines to meet the demands of protecting the community against the deadly virus.
“The hospital was the first vaccine provider,” he said. “You had to be a vaccine provider to issue the vaccine. The hospital then H-E-B and then some of the clinics like UMC (United Medical Centers), Cadena, have been awarded vaccine-provider status.”
Sheedy said UMC was assigned additional vaccines, so the city has agreed to let them use the Del Rio Country Club for mass vaccinations.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has been the primary one administered, but the Moderna version is in use too, he said. The state is dispensing the vaccines.
Is one better than the other? According to the Wall Street Journal, all three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson&Johnson — are effective. The efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna shots was above 94% in late-stage trials, and Johnson&Johnson’s one-dose vaccine effectiveness measured 66%.
The Wall Street Journal also said that Pfizer and Moderna had not conducted tests after the emanation of mutations, such as the South African strain. Apparently, studies demonstrated that the strain could evade the vaccines and work against it, the Wall Street Journal reported.
As of March 17, nearly 8,500 have been inoculated, with one dose, and 4,200 fully vaccinated, Sheedy said. Approximately 9,000 have registered for the shots.
Eligible citizens can learn more about vaccination registration at https://www.cityofdelrio.com/government/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine-distribution.