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What are the next steps for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine

Pfizer says they plan to apply for emergency use authorization by the end of the month.

HOUSTON — In between the hum of island traffic, there’s a hint of optimism in Galveston’s breeze.

“If it works, it will be a game changer," Dr. Janek Patel, UTMB, said.

It's one of the trial sites for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. As of September, hundreds of Galveston residents were enrolled in the trial that today released its first results.

“Ninety-percent is a very high value, much high than most people had expected but it’s early," Dr. David Persse, with the Houston Health Department, said of Pfizer test results.

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They’re watching it closely, while Pfizer says they plan to apply for emergency use authorization by the end of the month.

Memorial Hermann CEO Dr. David Callender says that means his healthcare workers will have a choice.

“We can offer it to our people, but we can’t force them to take it, so there will be a personal choice involved early in the vaccine administration,” he said.

But the biggest challenge for Pfizer’s vaccine, it has to be stored in a negative 80-degree freezer, not normally found in doctor’s offices.

UTMB plans to use its hospital pharmacies in Galveston, Clear Lake and Angleton to house the vaccine, if approved.

“Our healthcare system is really excited about getting these vaccines here and we are going to be ready to give it to the patients," Dr. Janak said.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses. So, doctors say whatever first batch the Houston area gets, they will hold back, half rather than giving it all out to anyone in line.

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