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COVID-19 vaccine could arrive as soon as Monday, says Houston hospital CEO

Memorial Hermann will get more than 16,000 doses for their employees in this first allocation. Because each person needs two doses, that'll cover about 8,000 people.

HOUSTON — The head of Memorial Hermann Health System says they could get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as Monday if FDA approval happens quickly.

“That could occur as soon as late (Friday) or tomorrow,” said Dr. David Callender, President & CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System. “We believe that when it occurs, the vaccine will begin to ship, and if it starts this weekend, we might have vaccine for administration as soon as Monday.”

Hospitals in the Memorial Hermann system have already received freezers to store Pfizer's vaccine at ultra-cold temperatures.

Memorial Hermann will get more than 16,000 doses for their employees in this first allocation. Because each person needs two doses, that'll cover about 8,000 people, or just over a quarter of the system's roughly 28,000 employees.

"We'll use all of (the vaccines) in this initial round,” Dr. Callender said.

He says employees eligible to receive the vaccine in this first phase have been identified and will get an emailed link to sign up for a shot.

"We'll start scheduling this weekend,” Dr. Callender said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says once the FDA approves Pfizer's vaccine, the Lone Star State will get more than 224,000 doses in the first week alone, with more than 56,000 doses distributed in the Houston area.

Besides health care workers, people living in nursing homes are also first in line to get the shot.

On Friday, Governor Greg Abbott announced Texas will join a federal program to vaccinate residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Staff from CVS and Walgreens will deliver their Pfizer vaccines free of charge.

More than 3,000 facilities with a total of more than 225,000 beds have signed up.