Deployment of the Pfizer COVID vaccine began yesterday afternoon throughout the Memorial Health System. MHS representatives said the vaccine arrived shortly after 12:30PM yesterday, with Passavant Area Hospital’s arriving shortly after.
Jennifer Harris, who has been the planning section chief for MHS’s Instant Command System for the pandemic, says that they have been working with local health departments throughout their hospital system preparing for deployment and administration for the last several months.
Harris says that the vaccine was allocated by the Illinois Department of Public Health based on population deaths per capita. She says the allocations of the vaccine were given by county, and in some cases county health department’s allocated their shipment to an area hospital. Harris says Passavant and the Morgan County Health Department are the best example of this in their system, with the local health department allocating all of its vaccine allotment to Passavant as a central hub to service the area’s front line healthcare workers first and then, long-term care facility residents.
Harris says that the vaccine has come thawed out, requiring the vials of the vaccine to be used within 5 days before it becomes no longer usable. Harris says a system has been set up for his set to get the vaccine first. A survey was sent out to each of the hospitals’ employees to see who wanted to receive the vaccine and who did not. She says the length of the lists at each hospital was more than enough to complete distribution in the first allotment. The hospitals have set up a system while the front line workers are on duty to come in increments to receive their shot so that the vials of the vaccine do not reach their time limit of usefulness.
MHS Chief Information Officer Aimee Daily revealed yesterday that Passavant Area Hospital CEO Dr. Scott Boston will be one of the first in line to get the vaccine in Jacksonville today. Boston will then turn around and serve the remaining staff at Passavant, administering the vaccine to his colleagues. He is set to talk about the process in a press conference today at 1:30PM.
Dr. Raj Govindaiah says that staff in the Memorial System have been asked to sign up with a CDC app to track for any reactions to the vaccines. He says that people having the adverse reactions is a good thing in the fight against COVID-19 because the body’s extreme response to the antigens shows why the vaccine is successful in combating the virus.
Harris says that more vials of the vaccine are expected to be distributed rapidly, but the situation remains fluid as updates on the numbers of vaccine coming to each state changes daily. The leaders of the government’s Operation Warp Speed said yesterday that 2 million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine are set to be delivered next week. With an expected emergency approval of the Moderna vaccine from the FDA possibly coming today or tomorrow, the numbers of vaccines could rise sooner than expected.