December 23, 2020
Dr. Guadalupe Zamora, Central Health Board Member and affiliate faculty member of the Dell Medical School, received the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
(Austin) – Dr. Guadalupe Zamora, a physician with more than 30 years of experience in East Austin and a member of the Central Health Board of Managers, received the COVID-19 vaccine Sunday, Dec. 20. Dr. Zamora was vaccinated during the first distribution of doses allocated to health care institutions for frontline health care workers.
As a doctor who treats a disproportionately affected area of Austin/Travis County, Dr. Zamora and his staff are among some of the most at-risk in the community and he received the vaccine as Austin-Travis reached Stage 5 of the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines.
The first vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived Dec. 14 at UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin – a Central Health partner. UT Health Austin was the first Central Texas medical facility to receive the first round of coronavirus vaccines to administer to frontline healthcare workers.
This week, Texas expects to receive 620,400 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for distribution to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
“As a physician in East Austin, I work with communities of color that are at higher-risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19,” Dr. Zamora said. “These communities sometimes can be distrustful of vaccines and the medical establishment, which is understandable since inequitable health policies and even dangerous medical experiments have targeted communities of color in the past. That’s why I want to show my patients and staff the vaccine is safe and effective and I strongly encourage everyone to get the vaccine as soon as its available to them. It’s the only way we can get back to normal.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show Latinos and African Americans are one and a half to two times more likely than Caucasians to become infected with the coronavirus, about four times more likely to become hospitalized, particularly in urban areas with lower incomes, and about three times as likely to die if infected.
The vaccine is administered in two doses that must be spaced two to three weeks apart. Dr. Zamora will receive his next dose within the next 17-21 days.
“This vaccine has gone through extensive testing before it was authorized for distribution by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and it is about 94% effective. It’s going to be an extremely effective defense against the virus, but we still have to keep wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding crowds for a while longer in order to stay healthy and keep others safe,” Zamora said.