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Vaccination eases PAPD detective’s mind due to vulnerable family members

By the nature of his job as a police officer in Port Arthur, Mike Hebert is always around people.

That can be concerning when you’re worried about safely performing your duties during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s of greater concern when you’re more scared about possibly passing on the dangerous disease to more vulnerable members of your family.

“I’m 57 and don’t have any underlying health issues, but my grandson has cystic fibrosis, and it’s a terminal illness that is a lung disorder,” Hebert said. “I was always nervous about being around people constantly and giving it to him.”

His wife is a cancer survivor and has damage to her lungs from radiation treatments.

“She is a high risk person, too,” Hebert said. “I wasn’t really worried about me getting sick; I was worried about passing it on to somebody in my family.”

So it’s easy to imagine his excitement when a member of the Medical Center of Southeast Texas called Monday, asking about administering the vaccine to first responders.

Hebert, a veteran detective with the PAPD, asked if he could drive over that day. Unfortunately, he was told there was a process and would need to wait.

The wait ended Thursday morning, as Hebert sat in for his COVID-19 vaccination at the Port Arthur hospital.

Mike Hebert, detective with the Port Arthur Police Department, was one of the first responders receiving an initial COVID-19 injection on Thursday.

“We have been contacting and scheduling vaccines with many agencies and will continue to work closely with all first responder agencies to ensure those who want a vaccine, receive one,” hospital marketing director Angie Hebert said.

Hospital administrators stress the limited number of vaccines provided by the state means they need to contact local first responders about setting up appointments and do not want individuals or agencies contacting them because demand still exceeds supply.

As of right now, the hospital is only receiving vaccine from the State of Texas and has no say in how much or how often it is received.

The hospital began reaching out this week to the Port Arthur Police Department and Fire Department.

“When I heard there was a vaccine out, I was hoping to have the opportunity to take it,” Det. Hebert said. “When we get all the names of people (in the department) who want to take the vaccine, we will submit it to the Medical Center, and they will have a set time. They told me once they take the vile out of the freezer, they have to use it in so many hours, so they need a real concise headcount.”

Citing hospital policy, the Medical Center of Southeast Texas is not releasing exact vaccination numbers.

Local first responders with questions about receiving a vaccine are encouraged to ask their supervisor for more details.

Once an individual is vaccinated, all participants receive a “Vsafe” handout from the CDC to help monitor symptoms.

The Medical Center Vaccination clinic will monitor individuals for 15 minutes post injection for any initial reactions. Participants are scheduled for their second injection at the time of the first injection.

Sometime between 17 and 23 days after the first injection, participants return to the Medical Center of Southeast Texas for the second injection of the vaccine.