December 16 was a historic day in Denton County. Both Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound and Texas Health Denton administered the first doses of the COVID 19 vaccine to health care workers in Denton County. A day later, Medical City Denton began administering vaccines with Medical City Lewisville following shortly afterward. An additional 2,600 doses were expected the following week.
In a news conference on Dec. 17, Gov. Greg Abbott said the state would have an estimated 1 million individuals vaccinated by Christmas. In January, freestanding medical centers, pharmacies, long-term care centers and local health departments are expected to have vaccines. We currently have over 145 healthcare providers signed up to distribute the vaccine in Denton County and will work with them to ensure we cover the county population.
In addition, antibody therapeutic drugs are available in Texas for those with COVID-19 to help them recover and keep them out of hospitals.
After nine months of a pandemic and with the significant increase in cases in November and December, this was great news with which to end the year.
Now, as we start a new year, we see light at the end of the tunnel with both Moderna and Pfizer mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines available across the U.S.
We also have exciting news to share locally about a Little Elm company, Retractable Technologies Inc., which is a pioneer in providing effective safety syringes with automated retraction syringes and needles. The Denton County company will increase its manufacturing capabilities as part of Operation Warp Speed and the vaccination campaign across the country. The U.S. Department of Defense, through a Technology Investment Agreement, has agreed to fund $53.6 million to increase RTI’s manufacturing capacity for the product of safety needles for current and future pandemic response.
In summary, help is on the way. All of us who want a vaccination should be able to get one within the next few months (sign up here). In the meantime, we must not let our guard down against this vicious virus. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, a surge in positive cases resulted here in Denton County with COVID patients now occupying more than half of the ICU beds.
Therefore, we must continue to be vigilant and practice the CDC guidelines to keep ourselves and others protected as the holiday season continues. But indeed, let us also be joyful as we see great progress in the fight to defeat COVID-19.
If you would like to receive an e-newsletter, please contact Commissioner Edmondson at [email protected] You may phone her at 972-434-3960 or visit her office in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 90