COIVD Vaccines and Distribution

With 2020 finally coming to a close, I find it ironic that this month has “National Handwashing Awareness week” in it. The dates are officially December 6-12, but this year, it has been from March to now. COVID has changed so many things about this year.

We’ve lost patients to COVID, many of our patients have lost family to it. Jobs have been lost and lives turned upside down by working from home and attending school from home. Some patients are struggling with the uncertainty and fear of becoming infected. Those who have been infected fear what the virus may do to them. Through it all, my staff and I have done our best to care for our patients. In March, from one day to the next, our IT and EMR departments made it possible for us to provide care through TeleVisits. As we were able to open up and see patients in the office, we continued these visits for simple visits or for those concerned about coming into the office.

Recently, Governor Greg Abbott and San Antonio Metropolitan Health District announced that the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive the week of December 14. While the distribution plan for the vaccine is still be worked through, we understand it is set to be administered first to first responders and hospital workers on the front lines as well as long-term facility patients, like nursing home residents. The next group is estimated to be high risk populations and then the general public around early Summer of 2021.

It is important to note that even when the vaccine is available, we’ll still be wearing masks for a while. There are several reasons for this need: it may take months to get vaccinated; it may not be known how truly effective the vaccines will be for a while; and, we won’t know how long immunity will last after vaccination. Please, as new information emerges about vaccines, continue to follow the recommended guidelines.

With increasing cases and more information about COVID, guidelines continue to change. The quarantine periods have been adjusted, and mask recommendations have been enhanced. In order for us to get on the other side of this pandemic, we do need to do our best to protect ourselves and our family members. We will all be better off for it.

With a hopeful view to 2021, the staff at the Holy Cross clinic and I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and a great new year.

Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Medical Group, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.