Select CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic locations across Northeast Texas are distributing this week the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to their patients who fall into the Phase 1B category, as designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The vaccinations are occurring by appointment only, for those patients who meet the Phase 1B criteria. Appointments can be scheduled through the CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic website at one of a handful of CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic facilities throughout the region. Patients will be directed to the appropriate clinic when they schedule online.
“Our hospital partners vaccinated many of the health care workers in Phase 1A, which includes only health care workers and long-term care residents, and this vaccine is still available to them,” said Christy Bush, Chief Operating Officer, CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic, Northeast Texas. “However, we are now able to offer this to the next group of patients in Phase 1B, while closely following and Texas State guidelines and public health experts’ recommendations for administering the vaccine.”
Phase 1B CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic patients eligible for vaccination include those:
· Age 18*-64 with chronic conditions that increase their risk of severe illness
· Age 65-and-older, regardless of medical conditions
“The use of vaccines has been a key part of combatting and even eradicating certain diseases for hundreds of years, and there is excellent initial data that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and safe,” said Andria Cardinalli-Stein, M.D., FACP, Ambulatory Chief Quality Officer, Northeast Texas Region, CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic. “If anyone has questions about their personal health concerns or history and how that might be impacted by vaccination, we encourage them to talk with their primary care provider, who knows their medical conditions and history and can advise them personally.”
The vaccine has been distributed to CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic by the State of Texas with specific requirements regarding the process for distribution. That process includes a phased approach to who will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
“Our goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available, and we are working to vaccinate as many eligible patients as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, caregivers will closely follow Texas State guidelines and recommendations for who will be prioritized for administration,” said Bush. “At this time, until supplies are increased, there will be no Walk-Ins available, and only patients with appointments can be accommodated. Appointments can be made by visiting the CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic website or via CHRISTUSHealth.org and clicking on the yellow chat icon on the homepage. As we receive more vaccines, we will open additional appointment slots. If you cannot find appointment availability near your home, you may check at another CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic location or check back the following day, as we will be updating our schedules daily according to the vaccine supplies, we have on hand.”
Like many vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine will be given in two doses: an initial injection and then a booster shot, 28 days later. CHRISTUS Health has a well-established process in place for reviewing the safety and efficacy of new drugs that is being utilized to evaluate any COVID-19 vaccines that receive emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.) Research indicates recipients can expect minor side effects like the flu shot, such as low-grade fever and redness or pain at the injection site.
“While the vaccine is a tremendous step in combatting COVID-19, it is crucial that everyone – even those who have been vaccinated – continue to take the lifesaving precautions that we know are effective in combatting this disease,” said Dr. Cardinalli-Stein. “Keep wearing your mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and stay home if you’re sick. These measures are critically important now as cases are high in our communities and will be for some time. However, though we still have a long way to go, the availability of vaccines hopefully represents the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Vaccine appointments can be made by visiting christushealth.org and clicking on the yellow chat icon on the homepage to connect you with Christy, our virtual assistant. Patients will be prompted to answer a few screening questions prior to choosing a location nearest them and scheduling an appointment.