As the number of COVID-19 cases in Lubbock continues on the trend of 250 cases a day, City of Lubbock officials hosted a virtual press conference on Wednesday to discuss new information about vaccinations.
As of the news conference, 43,266 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Lubbock county. 38,889 are recovered cases while 3,793 are active cases, with the death toll at 585 people.
Katherine Wells, director of the Lubbock Health Department, said that the health department has been able to vaccinate over 3,400 individuals so far. The city has already vaccinated the Phase 1A group and have moved on to 1B group.
"That 1B group is those individuals who are over 65, or those who are under 65 that have a comorbid condition," she said. "We're looking at things especially like obesity, diabetes, those diseases that can make make if they have COVID increase likely increase their risk of hospitalization."
Well said that once the health department receives more vaccines, there will be a 24 to 36 hour turn around time to vaccinate the community.
Dr. Ronald Cook, local health authority, said that the city is receiving both vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. He also stressed the importance of receiving both does of the vaccine to obtain the 95 percent effectiveness.
"The CDC did put out a recommendation that if you had a significant reaction that required epinephrine or something like an EpiPen which is epinephrine after you receive the vaccine," he said. "If you had a reaction that required that it is recommended that you do not get the second vaccine, or the second dose."
Common reactions to the vaccine are low grade fevers, chills, muscle aches and soreness at the injection site, said Cook.
Cook also said that is someone who has already contracted the virus then they are are risk of contracting it again and should receive the vaccine. With the new infectious strain of COVID-19, Cook said that the vaccine should help prevent it.
"[The vaccine] are directed at the protein coats the spikes. And we don't think that that's the mechanism that's affected by the virus," he said.
Dr. Tedd Mitchell, chancellor of Texas Tech System, asked the community for patience during this time as they are having meetings with personnel on the federal and state levels to receive more vaccines. Mitchell said he is hopeful that by end of February or a the beginning of March, there should be enough vaccinations to start vaccinating the general public
Mitchel said that the students will more than likely be offered the vaccine during the February and March time frame. He also stated this is why Texas Tech University's classes got pushed back to a later start date.
"We will continue as the semester rolls out to be reinforcing social distancing masks and hand sanitizing things of that nature, just like we did during the fall," he said. "Then the idea would be as as more of the vaccine becomes available consistently, then we'll open it up to our Student Health Services and things like that for the students."
Lubbock Mayor, Dan Pope, passed his sympathies again to those in the community that have lost loved ones to COVID-19. He said the the states receives weakly allotments of vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna and those are distributed across the state.
Pope said that usually the city has a 24 advanced notice before receiving vaccines and as of right now the City is receiving Moderna vaccines.
"Our number one goal is to make vaccinations available as quickly as possible and in efficient manner," he said.