The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Abilene today. The hospital officials who received the initial doses were excited and enthusiastic about opening the deep-chilled package. Pharmacy Clinical Manager Greg Perry wore special, protective gloves as he pried the doses of Pfizer vaccine out of the dry ice it was packed in. “You can definitely feel the chill, even with these cryo-gloves. This is chilly, chilly!” As he held up the small boxes containing the vials of vaccine, Perry described what they contained, “We have 195 multi-dose vials. We can get six doses out of each vial.” Dr. Perry described this day as the beginning of the end, “This is our best opportunity to date, to end the shutdowns, end having to wear masks, end the pandemic, and the pain and suffering that goes with it.” Dr. Perry and Hendrick’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rob Wiley, said they would be at the front of the line to receive their vaccines when Hendrick begins administering them to their employees. Dr. Wiley says if people experience side effects after receiving the vaccine they shouldn’t worry, “The first shot is kind of like the flu shot. And so you’re going to be a little achey, maybe a little sore where you got the shot. The second shot, which occurs three weeks later, you may get a few more side effects, just because your body is starting to react to that vaccine, which is a good sign,” Dr. Wiley said.
Dr. Perry says in order to achieve broad, community protection, 70,000 people will need to get vaccinated in Abilene.