Kelsey-Seybold administered the vaccines to clinic staff, as they are people who do not need to schedule appointments to vaccinate, said Dr. Melanie Mouzoon, the managing physician of immunization practices at Kelsey-Seybold. The rest of the batch was geared toward first responders. Once the clinic gets more doses, it will be able to start vaccinating the general public.
“Once we receive it, we start vaccinating in very short order,” she said.
Because the vaccine supplies are so limited, the Pearland clinic has not started reaching out to the general public about vaccination, according to Kelsey-Seybold.
Brazoria County has over 80 facilities that are approved by the state to administer the vaccine, according to the county. However, there are not enough vaccines available yet to administer to the general public. The county has a page on its website with updates on where vaccines will be available.
There are several companies manufacturing vaccines, but both of the vaccines currently approved for use in the United States are messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines, which means once a vaccine enters a person’s body, it tells a person’s cells to make a copy of the protein. This protein, which is a part of COVID-19, will help fight off the virus without giving a person a small dose of the virus, Mouzoon said.
“The messenger RNA is getting your own cells to make the vaccine,” Mouzoon said.
As vaccine shipments continue to arrive, Kelsey-Seybold will contact patients based on priority, Mouzoon said. Moderna has said it has millions of doses; if this is the case, clinics will be getting allocations for a while, she said. After first responders and medical staff, other high-priority patients include those who work directly with the public regularly and the elderly, Mouzoon said.
"We will be letting people know by risk group that we have a vaccine available and they can schedule an appointment,” she said.
However, one challenge will be learning how to distribute so many vaccines because this is a new experience for health care workers and the state, Mouzoon said.
“They don’t want to overdeliver and underpromise, and neither do we,” Mouzoon said.