Tyler/Longview, Texas – CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances, CHRISTUS Good Shepherd and CHRISTUS St. Michael Health Systems are preparing to receive, manage and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine internally to health care workers in the coming days and weeks.
“The use of vaccines has been a key part of combatting and even eradicating certain diseases for generations, and we are confident the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective,” said Mark Anderson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic in Northeast Texas. “Though there is still a way to go, this process hopefully represents the beginning of the end of COVID-19.”
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 FDA.
“Our COVID-19 Taskforce is evaluating and planning for the storage and distribution of a vaccine across our ministries, including at CHRISTUS ministries across Northeast Texas, while following the guidance of clinical experts and the frameworks distributed by the Catholic Health Association, Centers for Disease Control, and State Health agencies,” said David Benner PharmD, MS, MHA, FACHE, Vice President, Clinical Ancillary Services for the Division of Clinical Excellence at CHRISTUS Health.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all health care workers at CHRISTUS facilities in Northeast Texas, but is not mandatory. Similar to many vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine will be given in two doses: an initial injection and then a booster shot, normally 21-28 days later (depending on the vaccine administered). Research from the pharmaceutical company and CHRISTUS Health’s COVID-19 Task Force indicates minor side effects similar to the flu shot, such as low-grade fever and redness or slight pain at the injection site are possible.
“CHRISTUS Health has a plan, and we are working through it to ensure that our facilities, Associates and medical staff are prepared to receive, store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they become available,” said Sam Bagchi, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, CHRISTUS Health. “We are confident in our ability to participate in the vaccine distribution and our ability to offer vaccination to all CHRISTUS health care workers who wish to receive it.”