EDINBURG, Texas – John H. Krouse, MD, PhD, MBA, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and executive vice president for health affairs at UTRGV, says he would like to correct the record.

In a story in the Rio Grande Guardian on Thursday, DHR Health CEO Dr. Manish Singh said Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, was an historic day for the Rio Grande Valley because that was the day DHR started administering the eagerly-awaited COVID-19 vaccine to frontline healthcare workers.

Krouse thanked the Rio Grande Guardian for sharing that importation information. However, he said the historic day was actually Dec. 15, 2020, because this was when the UT-Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine started administering the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers.

“Thank you for sharing this important information. I would just like to correct the record,” Krouse said. 

“December 16 was NOT the date that vaccinations first started in the Valley, as stated in the piece attached here. Please note that UTRGV School of Medicine began vaccinating its health care workers on December 15. I applaud the good work of DHR and its team. The Valley should be proud that it has resources at both DHR and UTRGV to assist with this terrible disease.”

Krouse held a news conference about the arrival of the vaccines on Dec. 15. He said UTRGV received 1,950 vaccines, which were to be administered that afternoon to the university’s frontline workers. 

The first person to receive the long-awaited shot not only at UTRGV, but also in the Valley, was Dr. Michelle Lopez, UTRGV School of Medicine associate program director and assistant professor of Internal Medicine.

“I wasn’t nervous, and I will tell you why. Because for the past few months, we have seen how patients can be affected by COVID-19 – and the risks associated with the vaccine are nowhere near as terrible as the things that I have seen in my patients who actually get the COVID-19 infection,” Lopez said.

“I was actually very excited to get the vaccine today and I was very grateful.” 

The first COVID-19 vaccine administered in the Valley was by Dr. Linda Nelson, a Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP), RN, pediatric nurse practitioner and senior director of Clinical Operations for the UTRGV School of Medicine and UT Health RGV.

The vaccine, developed by Pfizer, was granted emergency authorization by the federal government for use on frontline personnel. 


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