Local hospital systems prepare for COVID vaccine distribution and storage

Early shipments are expected in a few weeks
Posted at 1:01 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 19:33:11-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — CHI Health CEO Cliff Robertson and CHI Health Pharmacy Division Vice President Mike Tiesi shared the latest Tuesday on when COVID-19 vaccines will be available and how they will be administered.

Millions of Coronavirus vaccines are already being produced, just waiting on authorization from the FDA. Both Pfizer and Moderna are currently waiting for emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccines.

CHI Health Pharmacy Division Vice President Mike Tiesi says chances for approval are good.

"Unlike flu vaccines where we consider pretty good effectiveness between 40 and 60 percent, we're reading this is 95 percent effective," he said.

Once approved, the first round of vaccines will be distributed immediately all across the country. This could be as soon as in a few weeks. Tiesi says Nebraska is expected to get around 15,000 vaccines in the first shipment. The initial round of vaccines will be prioritized and health care workers will be the first in line.

"Other groups that are in that priority will not only be those healthcare workers but long-term care workers, first responders and then those folks who are going to be more vulnerable – people who have underlying health conditions, minorities and so forth," Gov. Ricketts said during a press conference.

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at -94 degrees Fahrenheit which is why storage is key. Bryan Health in Lincoln and CHI Health displayed their new vaccine freezers Tuesday and say they're expecting to get even more.

"Today we can handle 432,000 doses of this vaccine," Tiesi said.

The timeline for the general public to get the vaccine is expected to be around late spring or early summer - at no cost. The country's leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday he just hopes people get it.

"The challenge is going to be to convince people to get vaccinated," Dr. Fauci said.

Some people may experience side effects after getting the vaccine - which does require a second dose about 25 days after the first dose.

"A certain percentage of the patients enrolled in the trial that received the active vaccine did have side effects. Things like muscle aches, pains, headaches, fevers, feeling flu-like for a day, a day and a half or so," CHI Health CEO Dr. Cliff Robertson said.

Watch full CHI Health forum below or on our Facebook page.

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