Lake Houston residents may have to wait until spring to summer to get a COVID-19 vaccine, predicts Dr. Chris Langan, chief medical officer at Memorial Hermann Northeast and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands.
Langan made the guesstimate at the Partnership Lake Houston’s Humble BizCom held virtually Jan. 21. Memorial Hermann is vaccinating front line workers as well as residents of long-term facilities. When vaccine supplies are available, they will begin vaccinating those over age 65 and those with a chronic medical condition. Next would be those over 50 and, finally, those who are college age or older and healthy.
Memorial Hermann has vaccinated almost 53,000 individuals. More than 4,700 have declined a vaccine and there is an open invitation for more than 98,000 who have requested to be vaccinated when the health care system receives the vaccine.
“With six million residents in Harris County, no hospital system will be able to vaccinate everyone,” Langan said, “so vaccinations will be pushed to companies such as CVS and Kroger.”
Langan gave a quick but fascinating explanation of how the virus attaches itself to a person’s cells, then creates havoc in some patients’ respiratory systems. While the medical community is learning how to treat the virus, Langan emphasized there is no cure, so the best solution is to be vaccinated.
He detailed the two vaccines currently available and the two additional vaccines currently under review, how they were developed, how they differ and emphasized that all the vaccines are safe.
Answering questions from viewers, Langan said immunity for those who survive COVID-19 is estimated to last about six months although scientists are still researching why some patients suffer such long-term lung damage. Those vaccinated with the vaccine now available may have immunity for up to two years.
In answer to another question, Langan recommended that persons with multiple sclerosis should be among the first to be vaccinated.
“Listening to what Dr. Langan said today tells us there that we see light at the end of the tunnel,” Dave Harvey said following the Memorial Hermann presentation. “I know we want to go hug grandma or make a big business deal, and it looks as if the Southwest Airlines decision timing is perfect.”
Harvey is vice president of Southwest Business and was speaking at Humble BizCom about Southwest Airlines returning to George Bush Intercontinental Airport April 12.
“We’ll have 18 daily flights nonstop from Bush to Nashville, New Orleans, Denver, Chicago Midway and Dallas Love,” Harvey said. “We are celebrating our fiftieth birthday in June and we have lots of room to grow at Bush.”
BizCom viewers learned about another major manufacturer coming to Humble, JSL Foods, a manufacturer and marketer of fresh, refrigerated, pre-cooked Asian noodles, rice blends and wrappers.
“We’re a family operation, started by my grandfather in 1938 in Los Angeles,” said President Teiji Kawana. “My daughter joined the company this year, making this a four-generation company.”
The Humble facility joins JSL’s four manufacturing plants in Los Angeles. The Humble plant is taking over a former Lawler Foods facility near Wilson Road and Will Clayton Parkway and will be ready to begin operations in February.
“Because we are a family operation, we have close, lasting relationships with our vendors,” Kawana said. “A family company in Colorado provides our flour while our sauce comes from a small operation in North Carolina and our cookies come from a family operation in Los Angeles.”
Kawana said his family has established Fortune Cares, a program that provides produce to food banks and he already has met with Humble Area Assistance Ministries staff to begin a partnership.
Also speaking at Humble BizCom was Sam Schrade, CEO of DNA Studios, which is building an 8,000-square-foot headquarters at Issacs Road and South Houston Avenue in Humble. The broadcasting facility is due to open in May and will include enough broadcast studios to produce eight events a day. The facility also includes an additional 3,000 square feet for lease.
The City of Humble’s Seniors Program has moved to the Humble Civic Center, according to Jennifer Wooden, who oversees the program as well as the Civic Center and the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center. The building that housed the program will be torn down, she said.
The Bender will reopen with safety guidelines in place, Wooden said. The Fab 5, a Beatles tribute band, will perform Feb. 20, while A Night at the Ballet will return Feb. 27. Houston singer Sara Grace, American bluesman Kenny Neal and the Urban Achievers Brass Band from Austin all are scheduled to perform at The Bender this summer.
The newly refurbished Humble Museum, next door to The Bender, will be open when there is a performance at The Bender, according to Wooden.