By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is on the move.

“I expect the first shipments to arrive Monday morning,” Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed Gen. Gustav Perna said. “Effective coordination will ensure that this occurs.”

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FedEx is handling shipments to the western part of the country, including Texas. Right now, tens of thousands of doses being stored at negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit are making their way to North Texas medical centers.

“We have dedicated customer support agents who are monitoring vaccine shipments in the priority alert groups and are ready to intervene if delays caused by issues such as weather, traffic congestion or customer clearance threaten delivery time,” FedEx Regional President of The Americas Richard W. Smith said.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, this week Dallas County medical centers will receive around 27,000 doses of the vaccine, Tarrant County around 18,000 doses and Collin County just under 4,000 doses.

Populations of focus for the first doses may include:

  • Healthcare workers likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19
  • People at increased risk for severe illness from the virus and
  • Other vulnerable, frontline workers

“We’re looking at the healthcare workers who are most in contact with people who have COVID symptoms and then also everybody in the nursing homes,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “CVS Health and Walgreens Health will be going to the nursing homes and seeing those sick patients and setting up situations where those employees who are around them can get those shots as well.”

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Jenkins said within hours of arrival, healthcare workers will be ready to administer the vaccine. He estimates by end of January those two groups most in need will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

“Just know that this vaccine distribution will be equitable,” he said. “It will be based on who falls into the category of most exposure. It won’t matter how much money you make or zip code you live in. We’re going to make sure it’s available to people who fit in those categories.”

He said so far, over 200 entities have signed up to help with future distribution.

“In the beginning there won’t be that many,” Jenkins said. “It will be your major hospitals and CVS and Walgreens. Perhaps we will be able to add one or two more by the end of the month, but for now we will just start with those we’ve been training with.”

For a list of which hospitals are receiving the vaccine this week, click here.

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Erin Jones