Following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization last Friday for the use of certain COVID-19 vaccines, United Regional expects to soon receive an allotment of 975 Pfizer COVID vaccinations for distribution to a subset of frontline staff members this week.

Following guidelines from the State for a tiered approach, United Regional’s Emergency Preparedness team, in conjunction with senior leadership, finalized a plan to ensure the most efficient and effective allocation of these limited resources.

The first tier of vaccinations will be offered to United Regional staff and providers who work closely with COVID patients for extended periods of time and/or who are processing blood/bodily fluids with greater potential for exposure. Also included will be staff in the Emergency Department and CarePlus walk-in clinic and a few emergency preparedness/clinical administrative leaders with overall responsibility for management of disaster response. These groups will be followed by hospital staff and providers with more limited exposure to COVID patients.

The second tier of vaccinations will be offered to hospital and clinic staff with general patient contact, including remaining active and consulting members of the United Regional medical staff.

Upon receiving additional clarification from the State, decisions will be made regarding all remaining United Regional employees and community partners with critical needs.

Although the COVID vaccine is not required of staff, United Regional is strongly encouraging employees and providers to research the safety and efficacy of the vaccination, and consult with their personal physicians as needed, in order to make an informed decision.

United Regional has not received a definitive date re: when the next allotment of vaccines will be distributed, but we expect to receive more in the coming weeks and will work our way through the designated tiers accordingly.

United Regional will also support the efforts, as needed, of the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District, who is taking the lead on distributing vaccines to the general public.