Houston hospitals ready for thousands of vaccine doses for workers

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BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Friday, December 11, 2020
Houston hospitals wait for FDA's OK to roll out vaccines
Hospitals of the Texas Medical Center know a COVID-19 vaccine is imminent. In the video, they address who and how the immunizations will be given first.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Doses of the Pfizer vaccine could arrive in the Texas Medical Center in just days after an FDA panel endorsed emergency use authorization on Thursday.

READ MORE: Advisory panel endorses widespread use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in US

Multiple hospital systems told Eyewitness News they expect to receive thousands of doses next week. The vaccine will go first to healthcare workers. The experts said it will likely be spring or summer 2021 before the general public will have access to the vaccines.

Meanwhile, Houston Methodist said they expect 13,000 vaccines in the first shipment next week.

UTHealth anticipates it will begin to receive vaccines for employees later this month, with additional shipments arriving as supplies are available.

Memorial Hermann released the following statement when asked for comment:

"Memorial Hermann expects to receive provided guidance on who will receive the first doses of the vaccine in Texas. After the vaccine has been distributed to essential workers and vulnerable populations identified by the state, the vaccine will be more widely available. It is uncertain exactly when this will occur - timing will depend on how quickly the Pfizer vaccine can be produced and distributed, and whether other vaccines, including Moderna's candidate, are authorized quickly by the FDA. As soon as doses of the vaccine are available for widespread use, we plan to make them available for our patients and members of the community."

St. Luke's Health also released a statement:

"St. Luke's Health is closely following the progress of COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer's request for emergency use authorization from the FDA. We are actively preparing to receive and distribute vaccines when they become available. St. Luke's Health facilities have well-established protocols in place to receive, store, and administer vaccinations and is ready to partner with local and state health agencies to help safely distribute COVID-19 vaccines. St. Luke's Health has taken steps to prepare for vaccine distribution including ordering additional cold-storage freezers for vaccines that require storage at colder temperatures.

While we anticipate federal, state and local health agencies will take the lead on determining distribution plans and recommending who should receive the vaccine first, we expect priority may initially be given to health care workers involved directly in patient care, and those who are most vulnerable in our community and at an increased risk for the virus.

Once the vaccine gets authorization from the FDA, it will be distributed in phases, beginning with a limited number of doses in late 2020 for health care workers most at risk, with widespread vaccines unlikely to be available before Spring 2021. Our leaders from many different functions including HR, infection prevention, clinical, risk management, medication safety, and others, are considering several factors in decisions about vaccine distribution among health care workers (for example: age, job function, clinical location, and others.).

St. Luke's Health facilities might begin to receive the first doses of the vaccine 24 hours after receiving Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. We expect to receive 6,800 doses in the first round of allocation. Initially, vaccine administration will be limited to health care workers most at risk, and we expect to receive additional doses each week.

We are following CDC and state guidelines for vaccine prioritization which includes health care workers who are at higher risk due to where they work as well as other factors."

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