Thanks to a collaborative effort by various public entities, the vaccination hub at Christus Spohn Hospital-Beeville continues to efficiently administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to those residing in South Texas and beyond.
In the 10 weeks since the hospital became an approved hub, President Genifer Rucker said the hospital has administered more than 35,000 doses of the vaccine. While a large number of those who have come to receive the inoculation are not from Bee County, 56 percent of all Beeville residents older than 65 already have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“When the state of Texas designated Christus Spohn Hospital-Beeville a hub for Bee County, we were given just a week’s notice to come up with a plan,” she said.
At first, Rucker said the hospital received 2,500 doses of vaccine each week as the first dose. But as they began administering the dose, and also the second one, she said their weekly allotment increased to more than 5,000. The hospital’s pharmacy stores the medication, which is kept frozen until needed for use.
“We thaw them as we need them,” Rucker said. “We have to make a prediction each day as to how many people are going to come through. It’s challenging.
“We have not wasted any vaccine. That’s one of the things we’re most proud of. We haven’t wasted a single dose of vaccine.”
Personnel from the Texas Department of Transportation and City of Beeville Streets Department have set out signs to help direct motorists each day while officers from the Beeville Police Department and members of the Beeville Fire Department have helped to keep traffic moving for those receiving the vaccine two, sometimes three, days a week and those who are not. Assistant Police Chief Richard Cantu Jr. said those arriving via U.S. Highways 181 or 59 are directed to the U.S. 181 frontage road before turning right onto Galloway Street and then right onto South Hillside Street.
“The volunteer fire department stages at the corner (of South Hillside Street and Toledo Drive) law enforcement stages here and law enforcement on ATVs circling the area helps with traffic,” he said.
Vehicles then are divided into seven lines where they are staged bumper-to-bumper, in front of the former Robert L. Horn Bee County Jail. Cantu said as many as 85 vehicles will be parked on the lot before they are sent one by one around the building and into the rear entrance of the hospital.
“They start vaccinating at 8 a.m.,” he said. “We start parking vehicles around 7:30 a.m. and we’ll do this operation until 4:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.”
With such teamwork ensuring that everyone gets through the line smoothly, Cantu added, “You’ll arrive with a smile and you’ll leave with a smile.”
The feedback has been so favorable that at least one letter to the editor was printed in the Bee-Picayune, praising the work of everyone involved in making the vaccination hub run smoothly.
“I’m so proud to hear that,” Rucker said. “That just makes me so excited.”
Beginning this week, there likely will be more people moving through the vaccination line. Beginning March 29, the eligibility for those who can be vaccinated has been expanded. Now, anyone over age 16 is eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Rucker reminds citizens that the vaccination hub is open to everyone, not just those living in Bee County.
“We’re out here every day doing this because we’re trying to fulfill a mission,” she said. “There’s no revenue generated for the hospital by doing this.”