NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — The FDA green-lit the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for emergency use Friday evening following the recommendation by a government advisory panel on Thursday.
An initial shipment of 6 million doses will now be distributed throughout the country. Comal County is hoping they’ll be among the first to receive a shipment.
While Pfizer vaccines began arriving in San Antonio Monday, and frontline workers started rolling up their sleeves, no doses were shipped to New Braunfels. Some local healthcare workers were able to get their vaccines at sister facilities in the Alamo City nonetheless.
“We're still waiting to receive our allocation from the state and begin to move forward with our first responder vaccinations,” said Gentrea Hendrickson, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Comal County Public Health Department.
She updated county commissioners at their weekly meeting on Thursday.
Comal County Public Health doesn’t know when the area could get its first shipment, but officials promise to keep the community informed once the state sets a date.
Health leaders believe the Moderna vaccine could speed things up.
“I'm predicting that’s the vaccine that we'll see in our community that will be distributed to physicians’ offices and the like,” said Dr. Mark Hickman, who is part of the Comal County COVID-10 Physician Advisory Committee. “Hopefully within the next month or two, because it does not require unusual equipment to keep it very, very cold.”
Local pharmacies and medical providers are preparing for the vaccine by registering with the state.
“I am proud to announce that, currently, Comal County has 41 registered pandemic vaccine providers, and that's a huge number for a county our size,” said Cheryl Fraser, public health director for the county.
At least one nursing home plans to work with a pharmacy chain to vaccinate residents and staff once doses are available.
“That age group has suffered the greatest mortality of any group,” Hickman said. “By getting them vaccinated, we will put a big dent in the ability for this virus to kill Americans.”
With the addition of Moderna’s vaccine, government officials estimate 20 million Americans will be able to get their first shots by the end of December, and 30 million more in January.