With a COVID-19 vaccine expected to become available later this month, local hospitals are preparing to receive and store the vaccine.
The vaccine has made a lot of progress since the pandemic started. Pfizer and Moderna are both now pushing for FDA approval.
Medical giants UPMC and Allegheny Health Network have been preparing for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We believe we will probably be slated for the Pfizer vaccine first, eventually to roll out the other Moderna product, but we don’t know what is going to be shipped off initially.” said Michael Kuneman, Pharmacy Operations Manager at UPMC.
“There has been a lot of planning we’ve done here locally as well as the network level to ensure we have all the pieces in place to rise up and really participate in vaccinating.” said Stephen Henderson, Director of Pharmacy at AHN Saint Vincent.
FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine is scheduled to come out by December 10th, with Moderna following soon after. This means that both vaccines could hit the market by mid to late December.
Pfizer will ship just under a thousand vaccines per case. UPMC Hamot is estimated to receive about a thousand doses. Once the Pfizer vaccine arrives, it will need to be kept at -80°.
“Pfizer is prepared to send the product in some dry ice and some packaging that will keep the vaccine good as long as we recharge the product with dry ice for approximately 30 days.” Kuneman said.
Saint Vincent does not yet know how much vaccine they’re schedule to receive. They did, however, give JET 24 Action News a look at two newly purchased freezers to house the product.
“The vaccine campaign is going to be supply dependent. Because we will have a finite supply in the beginning, We will be prioritizing those higher risk front line health care providers.” Henderson said.