LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for Gregg County has arrived.
The special container designed by Pfizer was wheeled down a hall and dropped off at the pharmacy. CHRISTUS then had the vaccine blessed by Jamey Brogan, Vice President of Mission Integration.
“Today we come to you grateful that a vaccine is on our doorstep that promises to end the suffering and isolation brought about by this virus,” Brogan said.
CHRISTUS Pharmacy Director Jonathan Brown opened the container and stopped the GPS timer. From there two boxes were taken to a freezer and one was opened to remove vials to allow them to thaw.
“We’re really trying to take precautions and make sure we move this vaccine as carefully and safely as possible,” Brown said.
Jim Gaton, vice president of operations, says they will be efficient with the vials.
“We want to make sure that there is no waste of the vaccine, and that they are provided to our tier one staff,” Gaton said.
A few hours later Critical Care Nurse Melissa Montgomery waited to take the first vaccination at the hospital.
“I think it’s a major step getting our employees vaccinated first, so that we are going to be here and healthy to care for others in the community,” Montgomery said.
She says health care workers need to be able to work.
“We are seeing patients that are young and normally healthy, even with very active lives. We’re seeing those patients become very, very critically ill from COVID and so it is no longer just older population at risk,” Montgomery said.
Emergency Physician Dr. Faber White was the second to receive a dose, and agrees the vaccine is important.
“I’ve already seen several of my partners get sick, and that increases the stress on everybody. It makes everybody work harder,” White said.
White says the next to be vaccinated is ancillary staff.
“People that work in the hospital that don’t have necessarily direct patient contact, but are still critical for making sure we can take care of these patients,” Dr. White said.
CHRISTUS Good Shepherd will continue inoculations over the next three days. Longview Regional Medical Center has also received a shipment and began giving out doses of vaccine Thursday afternoon.
A shipment of 975 doses also arrived at CHRISTUS Mother Frances in Tyler on Thursday morning. The box was wheeled through the halls of the hospital to the pharmacy where some doses are expected to be set aside for the first vaccinations later today. Similar to the first vaccinations at UT Health Science Center on Tuesday, the first shots will go to frontline health care workers.