Moderna COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Harlingen and Mercedes

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Trini Yunes, UTRGV director of Human Resources, documents this important moment by taking a selfie of herself receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the UT Health RGV/Knapp Family Health Center in Mercedes on Tuesday, Dec. 29. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

Mega Doctor News

By News and Internal Communications

Today marked the first day UTRGV started the administration of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Mercedes and Harlingen to continue its commitment of vaccinating the Rio Grande Valley.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine – the second vaccine granted emergency authorization by the federal government – arrived Monday, Dec. 28, at the UT Health RGV/Knapp Family Health Center in Mercedes and the UTRGV Clinical Education Building in Harlingen.

Dr. Mark Kroll, UTRGV professor of International Business and Entreprenuership, received the Moderna vaccine at the UTRGV Clinical Education Building in Harlingen on Tuesday, Dec. 29. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

Dr. Adela Valdez, MD, MBA, associate dean of Special Programs and professor of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine for the UTRGV School of Medicine, who received the Moderna vaccine in Harlingen on Tuesday, said she got vaccinated to protect not only herself, but also her family and community.

“I’d like to thank UTRGV School of Medicine for providing this vaccine not only to myself, but, most importantly, to the healthcare providers that are risking their lives,” Valdez said.

Rachel Garcia, and her husband, Alejandro Garcia, both retired and lifelong residents of Edinburg, drove to Mercedes to get their vaccines, and admit they got lost on the way but were so relieved when they finally were administered the much-coveted vaccine.

“We were looking very much forward to it,” Rachel said. “This is a godsent. This is a blessing.” Rachel said she was so grateful for the opportunity to get the vaccine early as both she and Alejandro have underlying medical issues.

“We have been terrified of this disease. We know people, very well, that have died,” Rachel said. “Everybody has to be willing to take the vaccine so that everybody can be safe, and we can put an end to this pandemic.”

The Moderna vaccinations, by appointment only from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., will continue Wednesday and Thursday at the following locations:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 30 – UT Health RGV/Knapp Family Health Center, Mercedes and Interdisciplinary Academic Building, Brownsville
  • Thursday, Dec. 31 — UT Health RGV/Knapp Family Health Center, Mercedes and Clinical Education Building, Harlingen 

UT Health RGV received a total of 900 doses, of which 500 went to Harlingen and Brownsville, and 400 to Mercedes.

The UTRGV School of Medicine and its care team, UT Health RGV, continue to safely and efficiently administer the COVID-19 vaccine based on group prioritization and vaccine availability. For more information or to fill out the registration form, visit the COVID-19 Vaccine webpage. For the latest in UTRGV operational updates, protocols and guidelines regarding COVID-19, visit the Commitment to Safety and Success webpage.

Jeffrey Castaneda, from Mercedes, was the first person to receive a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the UT Health RGV/Knapp Family Health Center in Mercedes on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Administering the vaccine was 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. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)