Houston doctor says COVID-19 vaccine is 'beginning of the answer'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After leading the COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical Center and working for 277 straight days, Dr. Joseph Varon got his first shipment of the Moderna vaccine and was one of the first to take it.

"It has been very hard. Working 277 straight days, nonstop really starts to make you very tired. But more importantly, I'm starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Though, it's a very long tunnel," said Dr. Varon.

After his hospital did not get any of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine last week, Varon has been fighting to get the Moderna vaccine, and on Monday his hospital received the first shipment.

SEE ALSO: Dr. Varon at UMMC fighting to get COVID-19 vaccines for staff

"We have the vaccination process started. It's been a long wait for this vaccine, as UMMC has been doing a lot of work on the front line of this illness. We got the vaccine shipped to us early in the morning and then we were able to open them up, take them from the freezing condition into a cold condition and we created a list of employees who are going to receive the vaccine," he explained.

Dr. Varon said those employees who are on the front lines in the COVID-19 unit and the ER will get the vaccine first. The hospital received 100 doses and are expecting more on Tuesday. Dr. Varon got the vaccine himself Monday afternoon.

"The vaccine is not the answer, but the vaccine is the beginning of the answer. People should not drop their guard thinking that the vaccine is here and everything is done. It's a process and it's going to be a process that will require several things to work at the same time," said Dr. Varon.

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