East Texas man receives vaccine ahead of schedule


CHRISTUS Health says they’ve been encouraged by the state to move quickly in distributing the vaccine which they say could have caused a one-off situation.

TYLER, Texas — On December 28th, Luke Salter, a nursing student at UT Tyler and a bank teller says he received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at CHRISTUS Mother Frances in Tyler. 

Salter says getting the vaccine doesn’t have anything to do with him being a nursing student as he doesn’t work with coronavirus patients. He also doesn’t have any serious health conditions.

“I was a little surprised, I thought there’d be more of a waiting list,” Salter said. 

As of late December, it was primarily health care workers and first responders and those considered high-risk receiving the vaccine.

These groups are defined as 1A and 1B respectively and are considered first-priority. 

As a bank teller, Salter would fit into the third group, 1C.

Instead, he says the opportunity came from his job as a bank teller.

Salter emphasized he didn’t think he’d have the opportunity so soon and when he went to the hospital no one raised any objection. 

“They asked who I was affiliated with, as far as affiliated with a hospital, if I was a healthcare worker, I told them no,” Salter said. 

We reached out to CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances to find out why Salter was able to get vaccinated so early. 

“We have repeatedly been encouraged by the State to move as quickly as possible, which could have caused a one-off situation like the one described,” they said in an emailed statement. 

This is CHRISTUS Health’s full statement:

“CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System is closely following Texas State guidelines and recommendations prioritizing vaccine administration. Our hospital has been able to vaccinate patients in Tier 1A, which includes health care workers, and long-term care residents, and this vaccine is still available to them. We continue to work to be good stewards of the vaccines allotted to us by the state and have given doses to those in Tier 1B (65 and older and 16 and up with chronic conditions) when appropriate in order to follow State guidelines.

We’re proud of the work we have done to administer as many vaccination doses to as many of our neighbors in these groups as possible very quickly, even though the logistics have been challenging. We have repeatedly been encouraged by the State to move as quickly as possible, which could have caused a one-off situation like the one described. We will continue this work as part of our long history of service to our communities and all those we are privileged to serve.

As our hospitals continue to care for patients with COVID-19 and other medical needs, our CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic partners will begin the process of distributing vaccines to the community in outpatient care locations, which are better prepared to provide this type of care to large groups of the public.”

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