CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It took hours for some people, but four thousand Coastal Bend residents have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine thanks to the county's 'mega' immunization clinic.
“Yesterday I got mine," Corpus Christi resident Maria Donaldson said. "We were here since five o’clock in the morning until 3:30, but it was worth the wait."
It's unclear if she'll have to endure a similar wait when she goes back for the second dose of the vaccine that health leaders say is necessary to achieve the desired 95-percent immunity against the novel coronavirus.
It's unclear what degree of protection just a single dose offers no matter which pharmaceutical company's vaccine a person received.
“We have to remember that the clinical trials were based on two doses," Director of Public Health Annette Rodriguez said. "So while we’ve heard Pfizer may give you 50-percent (immunity) after the first dose, Moderna may give you 70-percent after the first dose -- we don’t really have those hard statistics to prove that."
That's why she urges anyone who got the first dose to get the second one after the appropriate waiting period -- 21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna.
But with the county administering all of its four thousand doses over just a two-day period, some people are concerned that when it's their turn for the second dose the supply won't be available.
Rodriguez addressed those concerns.
“The federal government has promised us that if they send us a thousand (doses), when the next second dose is due, they’re going to send us the next thousand to vaccinate that first thousand that we did," Rodriguez said.
Some people are less concerned about the vaccine supply, like Robstown resident Ludy Garcia, who's due for her second dose January 26.
“I’m confident," Garcia said. "I’m ready, and I’m going to be there."
And there may be an added bonus to getting both doses.
“There is that five percent chance that you may get COVID-19 still even though you’ve been vaccinated twice, and you’ve waited two weeks (for the vaccine to achieve full immunity in your body)," Rodriguez said. "But what we also know is that the severity (of your symptoms) is less, and that you probably will never need to be hospitalized."
Immunity and protection against severe symptoms are reason enough for some people who've been close to the coronavirus, like Mario Vasquez who didn't reach the clinic in time Tuesday to get his first dose of the vaccine, to do what it takes to eventually get both shots.
“We have a couple of parents who’ve passed away from our students," the Robstown Intermediate School teacher said. "With God’s grace we’ll get over this. I just hope that it leaves us as quickly as it got to us."