UTRGV receives first COVID-19 vaccines, starts immediate inoculations for its frontline workers
By UTRGV News and Internal Communications
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – DEC. 15, 2020 – UTRGV this morning received 1,950 COVID-19 vaccines, to be administered starting in the afternoon to the university’s healthcare providers and support staff.
The number of vaccines is determined by the State of Texas and the federal government, which are overseeing distribution of the vaccine to frontline providers.
Dr. John H. Krouse, UTRGV executive vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said everything is in place at UTRGV at for an organized, first-phase distribution of the vaccine.
“The UTRGV School of Medicine and its care team, UT Health RGV, are working diligently to ensure that vaccines are administered safely and efficiently to our campus recipients,” Krouse said.
The vaccine, developed by Pfizer, was granted emergency authorization by the federal government for use on healthcare workers and support staff.
At UTRGV, frontline personnel have been identified as high priority because of their heightened exposure to the virus and because of their need to stay healthy to support others as cases surge in the Valley and across the country.
Those who have been determined to receive the initial vaccine already have been notified or will be notified this week.
UT Health RGV will administer the vaccine based on guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Krouse said UTRGV continues to work closely with the state and federal governments as they make decisions on when the vaccine will be accessible to the general public.
Supplies will increase over time, he said, and it is anticipated the vaccine will be available to all adults later in 2021.
Federal health officials estimate that at least 80 million people could be vaccinated by spring, including the UTRGV campus community. At least 75 percent of all adults could be vaccinated by September.
He urged continued caution and adherence to the safety protocols, to include wearing a mask, washing our hands frequently, and maintaining six feet of distance from others.
“As we await broader distribution of the vaccine, please continue doing your part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to social-distancing guidelines developed by the CDC, especially during the holiday season,” he said.
Krouse said he encourages everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.
“The vaccine, along with following social-distancing protocols and guidelines, will allow us to curtail the effect of the virus on our communities. I am eager to receive the vaccine and I hope you will decide to do the same when the opportunity arises,” he said.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.
UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.
Associate Vice President/ University Spokesman
University Marketing & Communications / (806) 441-8078
UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications / 956-665-2742