20 Hereford Regional Medical Center employees receive Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — 20 employees at the Hereford Regional Medical Center received the Moderna coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, which one employee called ‘an early Christmas present.’

Deaf Smith County Hospital District CEO Jeff Barnhart was proud to go first as 20 employees got their first doses of the Moderna vaccine.

“It was kind of an emotional thing. You know, I’m tired of this, I’m tired of my staff dealing with it and I’m, I’m ready for this to be the beginning of the end of this pandemic. And I hope it is,” said Barnhart.

Barnhart said the State of Texas will provide the second round of shots for staff and healthcare providers, so they did not have to save any doses from this first round.

“I’m very happy. You know, since—since day one of this, you know, their safety has been it’s kept me up at night. You know, first we dealt with the shortage of PPE,” Barnhart added. “That’s scary to me because I want them to be as safe as they can, you know, as a person, they’ve got families and everything else, and I feel like that this is an extension hopefully of that safety for them.”

Hereford Regional Medical Center has been a COVID hotspot in recent months, even request a tent to take care of more patients as more people became hospitalized.

“We’ve lost a lot of family…patients due to this, and hopefully this will stop the spread of covid, and everyone will be well soon and be back to norm [sic],” Veronica Villareal, a nurse at HRMC, said.

Barnhart said he felt fine after getting the vaccine and wants to foster trust in the science behind it.

“I would encourage our community, please don’t get your information off social media, please go to relevant resources, there are resources online, you could call our clinic, and we’ll be happy to get you the information needed to make a good decision.”

HRMC posted to Facebook, calling the vaccine “a promise of a brighter future” and said they look forward to receiving more doses in the coming months to vaccinate everyone.

Looking back at the rollout of vaccines in Texas, Barnhart said the state is overall taking great care of their hospital, with many smart minds at work.

“But I’m not gonna lie to you and I was a little frustrated that we didn’t make the first week. However, I will say this, you know, we bought a $13,000 freezer, you know, for the Pfizer vaccine, it’s got to be kept at, I don’t know, minus 72. And then we ended up with the Moderna, which is probably going to be much better for us as a rural facility. We can keep that in a regular freezer. So, you know, I think it’s gonna work out better,” said Barnhart.

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