U.S. healthcare workers prepare for potential COVID-19 vaccine
UPDATED 4:15 PM PT – Saturday, December 5, 2020
As federal officials ramp up efforts to make a coronavirus vaccine available to the public, state health departments are starting to prepare hospitals for the first shipments.
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the CDC Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He said the first batch of vaccines, produced by Pfizer, could be approved for use in the United States before Christmas.
“We actually believe that from the moment we receive FDA approval, which we think is likely sometime in the week of December 14, we could be shipping within the first 24 hours,” the vice president stated. “And we could be vaccinating people within 24 hours of that.”
He added that within 48 hours, vaccinations would likely be available to all 50 states and territories across the country.
The FDA is expected to approve Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on December 10. Recent trials suggested the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective.
Pending regulatory approval, the vaccines will be transported in giant dry-ice filled containers at a temperature of 35 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
“What’s really important for these containers is you have the capability to get them plugged in when they’re not actually in transit,” Roger Samways, American Airlines’ Vice President of Cargo, stated. “We’ve got capability here to plug in 50 containers at any one time.”
Pfizer is expected to have 6.4 million doses of vaccine ready by mid-December.
In Michigan, Henry Ford Health System noted that they are fully prepared to deploy the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it’s approved for use, which will bring relief to healthcare workers around the nation.
“At Henry Ford Health System, we have been preparing to get the vaccines and have been watching the guidelines very closely,” Dr. Adnan Munkarah stated. “We have prepared from an operational perspective to make sure that we are able to store the vaccines.”
Dr. Munkarah also added that Henry Ford Health System installed freezers that are capable to freeze both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Vaccine priority will be given to frontline healthcare workers and nursing homes.
Amid each of these developments, Vice President Pence is optimistic moving forward.
“This time of year is always filled with hope through faith, traditions and in the hearts of the American people,” Pence stated. “But to be just a week and a half away from what will be the approval of the first coronavirus vaccine is inspiring the people of this country.”
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