By Gaige Davila
After nearly a year of enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the Laguna Madre area’s most vulnerable residents are more protected from the virus.
Cars briefly lined on Highway 100 on Thursday in the morning and afternoon of Feb. 5, waiting for parking spaces behind Port Isabel High School, where a COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held.
Three-hundred Laguna Madre area residents 65-and-older, who received vouchers from the cities of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista, received COVID-19 vaccinations in Port Isabel High School’s gymnasium.
PI-ISD were contacted on Monday, Feb. 1, to prepare a COVID-19 vaccination site for the Laguna Madre area by Saturday, but the district prepared the site, Port Isabel High School’s (PIHS) gym, by Thursday morning.
Capistran said the district invited the cities of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista to a meeting, to prepare for the call to host a vaccination site, two weeks prior to the clinic.
“Without hesitation, every city manager, every chief of police, said ‘absolutely, we’re there,’” Capistran said of the meeting.
Planning for the vaccination site also started two weeks prior. On Tuesday, Feb. 6, Cameron County Public Health inspected the gym and gave PI-ISD feedback on what the site needed, Capistran said.
Six vaccinators were on site, three of which were PI-ISD nurses trained by Cameron County Public Health to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The other three were local paramedics. Cameron County provided the ImmTrac2 (Texas Immunization Registry) software. The vaccines administered were made by Moderna.
Residents waited in PIHS’ original gym for 15 minutes after they received the vaccine, so paramedics could monitor any reactions.
Regarding whether another COVID-19 vaccination clinic was upcoming, Capistran said the clinic allowed the district to see whether they could handle vaccinating more residents.
“We wanted to ensure that all of the systems and the organization was in place, because we wanted to know for us if we were ready to host a vaccine day for 600 to a thousand, and we feel very confident that we can,” Capistran said. “We know our community is still so much needing it. Many of our folks are not going to travel to our neighboring cities to get (the vaccine). That is why we feel it is that important to partner with (the Laguna Madre cities) to have it here.”
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