By Federico Martinez
The mass vaccination effort at Ratliff Stadium is over for this week as health officials report that more than 13,000 have been vaccinated in the joint local effort.
The clinic will continue next week starting on Wednesday for those seeking the first of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations. Health officials stressed not to go to Ratliff seeking a second shot as those will be scheduled after Feb. 14 at local urgent cares and not at Ratliff Stadium. It is still best to register online prior to getting in line at Ratliff as it will cut wait time.
Medical Center Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Christin Abbott-Timmons during a Thursday Zoom news conference stressed that Ratliff is for the first shot not for the second. She said information on how those who have already received the first dose will get the second dose will be released on Monday.
She said the second shots will be at urgent cares and that no one will have to wait in a crowded area and that all precautions will be taken to keep patients safe and to adhere to social distancing.
Odessa Regional Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Rohith Saravanan explained that the Pfizer vaccine second dose is meant to be administered 17 to 21 days following the first dose. The Moderna second vaccine is meant to be administered 28 to 34 days after the first shot.
Saravanan explained that guidance from the CDC details that a second dose can be administered up to 42 days after the first shot and still be effective.
The Ratliff clinic has only used Pfizer shots so far and Timmons explained that due to the mass production by Pfizer that it seems to be the most readily available.
Saravanan also addressed when “full immunity” happens following the second dose. “About a week to two weeks after the second dose,” he said adding that immunity is personal and that even after that occurs that social distancing and masks are still needed to protect others who are not immune.
MCH President and CEO Russell Tippin praised the volunteers at Ratliff and also the continuing work of State Rep. Brooks Landgraf in helping secure the vaccines for the mass hub at Ratliff. He also said that MCH employees who chose to be vaccinated have almost all had the second dose.
He reported on Thursday that there were 16 employees out on COVID protocol and 45 patients at MCH with 21 in critical care and 19 on ventilators.
He said they have requested 5,000 more vaccines per week on top of the 3,900 they are currently getting.
At ORMC there were 23 patients on Thursday with 13 in ICU and 5 on ventilators.
Saravanan said the Odessa positivity rate is slowly coming down and is between 25 and 30 percent.
“We need to keep going in that same direction and keep this thing controlled…we are doing a good job as a community…let’s keep at it for now.”
Tippin did say the weather could be a factor next week at Ratliff and urged Odessans to keep an eye on it and to follow MCH’s social media as well as local media for updates.
The Ratliff clinic on Thursday did about 1,750 vaccinations and there will not be a drive through clinic Friday.
Here is next week’s schedule:
Wednesday (2/10) 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Thursday (2/11) 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Friday (2/12) 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Timmons praised the volunteers and overwhelming support from the community. She said ORMC nurses volunteered on the recovery side of the clinic and that there were so many volunteers at some points that they had to send some home. “Our teams worked seamlessly.”
Drivers line up at Ratliff Stadium as they wait to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as part of a mass vaccination clinic organized by the City of Odessa, Odessa Fire Rescue, the Odessa Police Department and Medical Center Hospital Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, at Ratliff Stadium.