Covenant ICU nurse receives first vaccine dose in Lubbock County

First vaccinations at Covenant

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The nearly 3,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine Covenant Health received on Tuesday will cover less than half of all healthcare workers at Covenant.

The limited supply forced Covenant to prioritize the most vulnerable healthcare workers. Among them was ICU cardiology nurse Noe Melendez, who was the first to be vaccinated in Lubbock County.

Melendez said he was confident in his choice after researching the safety of the vaccine.

“It should be pretty safe. There are over 20 years of research. They started the MRNA vaccine back in, I think 2002 with the SARS virus. So, they have been working on it for a while,” Melendez said.

While making his decision, Melendez considered his own health and safety, along with the safety of his loved ones and his patients. His mother is elderly, with pulmonary fibrosis.

“I want to keep her safe. I am around COVID-19 all the time,” Melendez said. “I see the sickest of the sick. If we can help curve this thing then that would be amazing to everyone to get over this,”

Operation Warp Speed, the CDC and state officials have decided who will get the next shipment, which will likely be the Moderna brand. Regional Director at Covenant Wesley Wells said the state distributes vaccines based on the number of healthcare workers and supplies available.

“We turn in how many healthcare workers we have, what our storage conditions are, then they decide how much vaccine goes out and who it goes to,” Wesley said.

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