Almost 5,000 staff and residents of long-term facilities and front-line responders in Lake Houston have been vaccinated for COVID-19 by area Walgreens clinical staff in the last 90 days.
And now, Walgreens is poised to begin vaccinating anyone age 50 and older or with severe medical problems, according to Terry Vaughn, district manager for the Lake Houston area Walgreens.
“My team and I have lived this for the past 90 days,” Vaughn said at Partnership Lake Houston’s Summer Creek BizCom held virtually March 18. “We vaccinated residents and staff in the long-term facilities throughout Lake Houston as well as police officers and other first-responders. Now we’re turning to the public.”
— Summer Creek BizCom viewers get details on vaccines —
Vaughn encouraged those who meet the new state criteria, over age 50 or with a severe medical problem such as cancer or heart disease, to go to the Walgreens’ website, walgreens.com, click on the “schedule vaccine” icon and schedule an appointment.
In an easy-to-understand explanation, Vaughn described the three vaccines.
“Pfizer and Moderna use a new technology, which I won’t explain here,” he said. “Pfizer is logistically difficult to administer because it must be kept on dry ice. Each Pfizer vial has six doses and must be diluted with saline. Once opened, the vial must be used in five hours.”
Moderna’s vaccine, Vaughn explained, is stored in a regular freezer and once opened, must be used in five hours, too. Both Moderna and Pfizer require a booster shot and provide 90 to 95 percent protection.
“The technology that developed Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is similar to the flu vaccine,” he said. “And one shot does it. You do not need a booster shot. It provides a lower protection, 65 percent, but the shot is more convenient.”
And for those concerned about the “new technology” used to develop the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Vaughn stressed that the technology has been researched for more than five years and is considered safe.
When questioned about the lower effectiveness of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Vaughn emphasized, “Please take the vaccine that you are offered. This is the way we will move to herd immunity.”
“I read that 30 million Americans have been fully vaccinated and another 60 million have received their first dose,” said Vaughn who also is the Partnership’s board chair.
Vaughn reminded viewers, “Mask up, wash your hands, keep socially distanced – and get vaccinated. We hope to immunize you soon.”
For those concerned about the safety of going to a movie, Jeremy Devine had reassuring news.
“We’ve been certified a CinemaSafe facility,” said Devine, in charge of marketing for ShowBiz Cinema, which has movie theaters in Fall Creek and Kingwood. “These are protocols and guidelines developed and supported by leading epidemiologists so that you and your family feel safe when you come to our movie theaters.”
In addition to the reduced capacity and enhanced air filtration systems, Devine explained, “When you purchase a ticket, the system knocks out seats on either side of your party. We’re staggering the times when our movies show so that we don’t have people congregating together.”
Families and friends also can rent a ShowBiz auditorium for their own group, choosing their own film to view.
In addition to the safety challenge that movie theaters faced, Devine described the “double whammy” of no movies to show when theaters could reopen. He stressed that he sees light at the end of the tunnel because good movies are “…on the horizon.”
Devine was asked if movie theaters can survive now that so many movies are streamed for home viewers.
“Yes, we will survive. There is something magical about enjoying a movie in the dark on a 70-foot screen with your friends and family,” he said.
Chef Justin Turner, who was profiled in a recent Tribune article, showcased for BizCom his new concept restaurants at Generation Park-Redemption Square. Generation Park is located at West Lake Houston Parkway and Beltway 8.
“We are showcasing true Italian cuisine at Bocca Italian Kitchen. This is fresh seafood and pasta with local farmer-sourced produce,” Turner said.
Turner is an award-wining chef, best known for creating the famous Bernie’s Burger Bus before moving over to Generation Park as director of culinary hospitality for Gastropub Productions, a new hospitality company creating new concept restaurants.
“Our pizza at Lupo Pizzeria is New York-style. All toppings are fresh, locally-sourced ingredients baked in a wood-fired oven,” Turner said. He also teased that additional restaurant projects are planned at Redemption Square.
Turner said visitors would be impressed with the food and the view and, when asked, said his restaurants provide takeout and delivery.
“It’s a great place to take guests from out of town,” BizCom host Sam Schrade said before bringing in director of marketing Ian Adler who ticked off three additional developments at Generation Park, the 4,200-acre master-planned commercial and residential development developed by McCord Development.
First, Adler showcased the new Service Wire Co. manufacturing and distribution facility. Service Wire is a family-owned wire and cable manufacturer. The facility will open this summer.
Second, GenerationWorx will soon open as an executive and coworking facility, providing 44 suites and five meeting rooms. The leasing cost includes furniture, utilities, internet and parking, according to Adler.
Third, a modernistic, five-story Courtyard by Marriott will open in June. “This is unique” Adler said, “because many of the suites will include balconies looking out over our beautiful Redemption Square.”
Adler also discussed multiple events taking place at Generation Park including Zumba on the Lawn Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.; Yoga on the Lawn Sundays at 10 a.m.; Story Time for Kids Thursdays at 11 a.m.; Market at Redemption Square featuring live music, food, art, and jewelry every fourth Saturday; and Cars and Coffee at Redemption Square, an automotive showcase every third Saturday.