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Second dose of COVID-19 vaccine administered to UT Health East Texas caregivers

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is given in two doses 21 days apart.

TYLER, Texas — Health care workers from UT Health East Texas received the second dose of the Pzifer-BioNTech vaccine Tuesday at the UT Health Science Center.

The vaccine is administered in two doses 21 days apart. 

“The second dose went just fine, exactly the same as the first dose,” said Gary Viljoen, director of rehabilitation services at UT Health North Campus Tyler, who was the first person to receive the vaccine on Dec. 15. “I would encourage everybody to come and get the vaccine once it’s available to them, not just to protect themselves but our community. The quicker we can build up the so-called herd immunity, we can potentially go back to some form of normalcy, and I think everybody would like that very much.”

Vijoen along with his colleagues received their second dose.

"I'm glad I gotten my second shot didn't have any kind of allergic reaction after the first shot, so I'm assuming I won't have any from this one," Johnnita Young, pharmacy tech, said. 

The second vaccine shipment will cover the second dose of vaccine for those who already received the first dose, according to a statement from UT Health East Texas. 

"As physicians, we should set examples for the patients and for the community," Gastroenterologist Dr. Bola Olusola said. "If I want to talk to my patients that they should get the vaccine, I think I should be able to say yes you should get it, I've already gotten it' so I think most people have more confidence when you're preaching the gospel that you believe in, so that's the first thing."

The health system says they are currently only vaccinating its employees but hopes to be able to open it to at-risk categories of the general population when additional supply arrives.

In the meantime, Dr. Thomas Cummins, division chief medical officer for UTHET says people should remain vigilant in protecting themselves from the virus.

“Because COVID case numbers are surging across East Texas, we urge residents to continue to do the things we’ve been talking about since the beginning of the pandemic — wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings,” Cummins said.

RELATED: HOPE: UT Health Science Center at Tyler receives East Texas' first batch of COVID-19 vaccines

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