My clinic is starting this morning. That means I have to get my temperature taken, don my protective equipment and attempt to deliver care to patients whose expressions I can’t see and who can’t understand what I am saying through a mask. I also need extra time to call family members and/or caregivers (often both), or to talk to them in the hallway after the visit, since the hospital has determined they can’t be in the waiting room or the exam room. This inefficient, time-consuming and frustrating way of practicing medicine means that I can’t see the usual number of patients or render the quality of care I am accustomed to giving. Even worse, patients who need to be hospitalized won’t go to the hospital until it’s nearly too late.
You can tell me about your reservations to vaccines in general or the COVID-19 vaccine(s) in particular some other time. I only know I can’t practice like this much longer. It’s bad for patients and it’s terrible for my own mental health.
There is only one way out of this, and that is when the majority of people are immune. There are only two ways to become immune to COVID-19 (even if the immunity is temporary). One is to get infected with COVID-19, and the other is to get vaccinated. Given the possibility of long-term after effects, a lot of time missed from work and the possibility of being deathly sick, I chose vaccination. I took the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on December 26. (I had a sore arm and that’s all.) Remember, vaccinations brought an end to smallpox and are the reason that children do not die in annual pandemics of polio, diphtheria and pertussis, as once was common.
My Mom is in her 10th decade of life and going strong, living independently at home. She remembers what life was like before childhood vaccinations, and would be happy to tell you about the world as it was. She asked me when it would be her turn to get vaccinated for COVID-19. She’s over 65, so she is in Phase 1B.
The links below to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services will help you find out what vaccination phase you are in and where you can get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccination is completely FREE, although some providers may charge a small administration fee. If you are not fortunate enough to live in God’s country, you will have to check your own state’s resources.
Texas Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus Resources:
- Phase 1A: If you are a healthcare worker, contact your employer. If you are a long-term care resident, contact your caretaker.
- Phase 1B: Please visit the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations map to see vaccine providers near you.
Phase 1B will prioritize Texans who are 65 years and older, and people who are at least 16 years of age with a qualifying health condition that puts them at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, qualifying conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy
- Solid organ transplantation
- Obesity and severe obesity
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccine will be available for the general public, but that may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.