Texas Physicians Get First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine
By Amy Lynn Sorrel

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Fast, smooth, relatively painless. That’s the way Texas Medical Association President Diana L. Fite, MD, described her experience as part of the state’s first batch of essential health care workers to receive initial doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

The process also came with a sense of relief for the Houston emergency physician. 

“I feel so much better [having had vaccine],” Dr. Fite said. “Even though it hasn’t protected me yet, it makes me feel better seeing all those patients.”

It takes a several weeks and a second dose – which Dr. Fite already is signed up for – for the vaccine to take full effect.

Because of that delay, Dr. Fite still cautions that even as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, they should not let their guard down and continue protective measures like mask-wearing, handwashing, and social distancing.

This week, more than 100 hospitals in 34 counties received Texas’ first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, prioritized for essential health workers and vulnerable populations. The allocation – 224,250 doses to 110 hospitals as of Monday – was recommended by the state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel, which is made up of physicians, health experts, lawmakers, and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) officials.

Physicians across the state lined up to take their turn. 

Irvin Sulapas, MD, of Houston tweeted getting his COVID-19 vaccine was “easier than finding a Playstation 5.” 

Dr. Fite says it was clear the facility where she received her vaccine rehearsed the complicated process – which requires detailed refrigeration and handling techniques – with precision. 

“They treated [the vaccine] like gold when they brought it over,” she said. 

In a tweet, renowned vaccine researcher Peter Hotez, MD, called it “an honor to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” The dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development also said the experience came with “mixed emotions” of gratitude and sadness “for those who lost thier lives” to the disease “and never had this opportunity.” 

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More vaccines are expected to arrive in Texas next week, according to DSHS. 

Find more information about Texas’ vaccination plan, including how to become a vaccine administrator, on the DSHS website.

You are also encouraged to contact the TMA Knowledge Center with any questions or concerns at (800) 880-7955 or via email.

As always, find more information on the TMA COVID-19 Resource Center, which is continually updated with news, information, tools, and more.

And check TMA’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for more photos and videos of Texas physicians receiving vaccines.

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Family physician Alejandro Bocanegra, MD, of Edinburg

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Oncologist Debra Patt, MD, of Austin 

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Internist Susana Lazarte, MD, of Dallas

Last Updated On

December 17, 2020

Originally Published On

December 17, 2020

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