Initial shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine arrives in Amarillo

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The first allocation of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived this morning in Amarillo.

“This has felt like a marathon that we didn’t know what mile we’re on, and so I think that this certainly feels like we’re closer to the finish line but we can’t quit running now,” said Casie Stoughton, Amarillo Public Health Director.

It was around 9:30 a.m. when the 975 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine reached the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Eric MacLaughlin, Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy, explained there was a total of 195 vials, with each vial containing five doses of the vaccine.

MacLaughlin also stated that this Pfizer vaccine came with a lot of particulars and things had to be done quickly and efficiently this morning.

“Once you open that box, you got three minutes to basically get back in the freezer or get in refrigerated setting or room temperature to start the thaw process, and then there’s time limits for once it’s out,” said MacLaughlin.

Additionally, with this first shipment coming in this morning, some of the very first hospital workers have now received the first dose of the vaccination.

Later in today’s City Council Meeting, Amarillo Public Health Director, Casie Stoughton, mentioned that more hospital staff will receive the vaccine tomorrow and potentially all of the 975 vaccine doses could be used by Friday. Additionally, she explained why receiving the voluntary vaccine is so important.

“In this particular situation, a vaccine is likely to provide longer immunity than does a natural infection and so that’s why it’s really really important to be vaccinated,” said Stoughton.

She also mentioned that the vaccine is not interchangeable.

Stoughton explained, “If you start with the Pfizer vaccine with the first dose, you need to get the Pfizer vaccine for the second dose.”

While the pandemic is still a foreseeable distance away from being over, MacLaughlin said he is feeling optimistic.

“It’s great that we got a vaccine now, but folks don’t forget to wear face masks, and in you know, hygiene and social distancing and those types of things. It’s really going to be helpful, in addition, of course, to the vaccine of putting this pandemic behind us,” said MacLaughlin.

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