EDINBURG – The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, in partnership with the Hidalgo County Health Department and the City of Edinburg, hosted its fourth COVID-19 Community Vaccine Clinic on Feb. 26 at Vela High School.
"We owe it to our community to do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus," said ECISD Superintendent Dr. Mario Salinas. "We have the expertise, the nurses, the police officers, and the facilities, so let's put them to use for a very good cause."
Since Jan. 27, the District has operated four vaccine clinics. Three have been first dose clinics, and one was a second dose clinic. Overall, more than 4,000 people have received the Moderna vaccine at these clinics.
"If we can save just one human life, then we have been successful," Salinas said.
Registered nurses from Edinburg CISD and Hidalgo County administered the Moderna vaccines at the high school.
"I cannot thank the Edinburg school district, Dr. Salinas, and the school board enough because their vision and their leadership have come through," said Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo Olivarez. "Edinburg is a model program. In fact, we had other school districts here this morning taking a tour because I wanted them to see what a model program looks like."
Olivarez said that Edinburg's clinics are averaging about 300 doses an hour, allowing nurses to distribute 1,000 vaccinations in less than 3 hours and 15 minutes.
"Right now, the county is letting us administer 1,000 vaccines per day, and we are able to handle that within a four-hour period," said ECISD School Board President Miguel "Mike" Farias. "Whenever the opportunity presents itself, we are not only ready but able to go ahead and double that and even triple it within a whole day."
Staff from all three entities helped to distribute the wristbands the day before vaccine clinics at the Richard R. Flores Stadium to those who qualified, including frontline healthcare workers, those 65 years or older, and individuals 18 years and older with a health condition.
"We are not doing this alone. We have partnered up with the City of Edinburg and Hidalgo County, and the three entities are able to put this together," said ECISD COVID-19 Director Dr. Anthony Garza. "Hidalgo County brings the vaccines. We provide most of the staff. The City of Edinburg provides staff from the police and fire departments. It's a big group effort. It takes a village to run this clinic."
Garza said that the District is already planning to expand the vaccination program to help more people in the community.
"If we can reduce the numbers of people that are dying of COVID, then we can start to come back to a normal life," said ECISD Health Services Director Diana Davila. "We want our kids back at school. We want to be involved. This vaccination clinic is a huge community effort."