By Kiahna Garcia Skyline Health Correspondent
ALPINE- Linda Molinar, the CEO of Preventative Care Health Services , discussed the COVID-19 vaccine distribution progress in an exclusive interview Jan. 21 with Skyline. Brewster county received 400 Moderna vaccines in January according to the Texas Department of Health and Services. The first round of the Moderna vaccine has been distributed throughout the tri-county area.
Skyline: How many people in Phase 1A from Brewster county have been vaccinated?
Linda Molinar: We don’t separate the vaccines from our organizations like if they are from Brewster county, because the vaccines that we are giving are supposed to go through all of the three counties to the A1 individuals.
Molinar: From the 400 doses, all of the agencies were contacted, and it was up to them to have signed up their employees or have their employees sign up for the vaccines themselves. We don’t have a total number of people from phase 1A taking the vaccines because in the end, if there were vaccines left, we gave them to tier 1B. So, when we kind of slowed down on tier 1A, we started vaccinating tier 1B that same day.
Skyline: When the 400 Moderna Vaccines are gone, how long did it take to get a new shipment of the Moderna vaccine?
Molinar: So, we actually end up getting 424 doses out from the 400. One little vial is supposed to give you ten doses, but sometimes you can get 11 doses, which the state explained to us. We did our 400th vaccine on Jan. 8th. The next shipment of 100 doses came to Presidio that weekend, and we gave them to Presidio on Tuesday, Jan. 12th .
Skyline: Do people have to worry about missing their second dose?
Molinar: So, the time period for Moderna is 28 days. We can give it 4 days before or 4 days after. Everybody that has gotten their first dose was given a specific day they should return to the clinic to get their second dose. We received information that the second dose which is the 400 doses to cover all these people, will be shipped soon.
Skyline: Are the vaccines free?
Molinar: If you have Medicare or Medicaid, we will only charge your insurance very little for the administration fee. If they don’t have insurance, we charge them nothing.
Skyline: Do you have to show proof of insurance?
Molinar: No, you don’t. Most people are supposed to register through our department and we have a lot of other discount projects. So, when they register for the vaccine and they are not are patients, they can qualify for programs in the organization if they are interested. If they tell us they have insurance. We believe you. We are in an honor system right now and people need the vaccine. I doubt anybody is going to lie if they don’t have insurance.
Skyline: To get the vaccines, do you have to be a resident in the Alpine community?
Molinar: In the case of Sul Ross students, we are not making it that they have to be permanent residents.
Skyline: Even Sul Ross’s international students?
Molinar: For them, we are going to base it if they are Sul Ross students. If they don’t currently live in any of the tri-state counties, then we don’t know how we are going to manage that because we are in a border town. My primary focus is the community of Presidio, Marfa, and Alpine. When we get to the general public, we will probably have something to try to concentrate on vaccinating the Sul Ross student population.
Skyline: When do you think the general community will get the vaccine?
Molinar: They say this spring or summer, that is kind of what we are hearing for the general public.
Skyline: When do you think teachers of Alpine ISD and Sul Ross professors will be able to take the vaccines?
Molinar: We don’t know if the state of Texas will have another tier or what they are planning to do. Right now, the only group we know we are supposed to be vaccinating is the 65 or older and people with a chronic condition.
Skyline: For those who are thinking of getting vaccinated for COVID-19, how can they apply for the vaccine?
Molinar: If you are a Sul Ross student, the best way to do it is to fill out our COVID-19 Waitlist form from our webpage.
Skyline: Will they receive a call when they can go to the clinic?
Molinar: Yes. If you are in the general public, the call will be more in the summer. If you are over 65, we are hoping we receive vaccines in February.
If you are interested in registering for the COVID-19 vaccine and currently live in Alpine, Marfa, or Presidio, click this link here to register: PCHS vaccine waitlist.