‘It’s a very challenging situation’: Prominent New Braunfels doctor seeks to inform community on lack of COVID-19 vaccines

Dr. Judith L. Thompson, a prominent surgeon in New Braunfels, said she is seeking to make sure people stay calm while awaiting information about incoming COVID-19 vaccines. (Courtesy Dr. Judith L. Thompson)
Dr. Judith L. Thompson, a prominent surgeon in New Braunfels, said she is seeking to make sure people stay calm while awaiting information about incoming COVID-19 vaccines. (Courtesy Dr. Judith L. Thompson)

Dr. Judith L. Thompson, a prominent surgeon in New Braunfels, said she is seeking to make sure people stay calm while awaiting information about incoming COVID-19 vaccines. (Courtesy Dr. Judith L. Thompson)

Dr. Judith L. Thompson, a general surgeon and an advocate for the profession of medicine who works in the New Braunfels area, said she understands that just about everyone in the community has urgent questions about how and when to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

How to get vaccinated, when to get it, where to get the first one or the second, who might have them: All are concerns she has been hearing, she said.

“It’s a very challenging situation, and the long and short of it, on this particular day, to the best of my knowledge—I understand there are no vaccinations within the community,” Thompson said in an interview Jan. 15, the day after Comal County reported 7,148 total COVID-19 cases and 861 active and probable cases.

Thompson said at this moment, that dearth of vaccinations includes private facilities as well as local physicians and the Comal and Guadalupe county health departments.

Vaccinations are provided to counties and local physicians from the state Texas, and those who receive vaccinations for dispersal often are not made aware they are getting them until the last minute, Thompson said.

“There is room for improvement with respect to coordination of getting the vaccines to people who may or may not be in position to deliver them,” she said.

The Comal County Health Department as well city leaders and physicians in New Braunfels are aware, Thompson said, that people want to be vaccinated, that they are asking where to go to get information. The answer to that, she said, is the county health department website, the Texas State Department of Health Services website and the city of New Braunfels website.

“But not everybody wants to go on Facebook. Not everybody wants to go on social media,” Thompson said. “There are some of us, myself included, that are highly averse to going to a website to receive information.”

With that in mind, Thompson said she simply wants to reach out to the community writ large to let residents know that vaccinations are not available at this time. Some more will be made available at some point, but she acknowledged that communication between the state and local officials leaves much to be desired right now.

Ultimately, Thompson said she is seeking to drive home the point that she is aware answers are in as short supply as COVID-19 vaccinations, but local health care professionals are working on finding solutions as fast as they can.

Thompson said one thing she is sure of is a priority is being made to get the vaccine to front-line first responders and health care professionals whose lives are at risk by interacting with potentially infected individuals in their time of need.

“It would be very helpful if people would be patient,” she said. “The professionals who are delivering vaccinations have no control over arrival of the vaccinations to their worksites. And then, there is some complex decision-making to be made with respect to who is actually going to get it.”
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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