Phoebe discusses COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans

Updated: Dec. 1, 2020 at 7:04 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - As “Operation Warp Speed” makes its way to Albany, Phoebe Putney Health System is preparing to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s an MRNA vaccine, which is a technical term for a vaccine with part of a viral particle in it that makes your body react to it. It makes you think that you have the virus. And what happens is that promotes your immune system to get ready, just in case you are exposed to the virus then you’ll be able to fight it off,” said Dr. William Sewell III, Phoebe’s chief medical information officer.

Pfizer created the vaccine. They’re awaiting the Food and Drug Administration’s approval.

Dr. Sewell said that once the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine, Phoebe will have more answers...
Dr. Sewell said that once the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine, Phoebe will have more answers about who is eligible to receive it first.(WALB)

After that, it’s only a matter of time before the first round of shots become available.

“Hopefully, it will be approved, and then shortly after that, depending on who you talk to, it will be two days to two weeks after that it will be distributed and ready to administer,” said Sewell.

The vaccine will be administered in a series of two shots.

Certain principles of the vaccine will make it difficult for Phoebe to transport and administer the shots to more rural areas of South Georgia.

“Probably some folks will have to travel, especially initially because this first vaccine we mentioned, the one coming from Pfizer, you know, it has to be stored what’s called ultra cold, minus 70 degrees Celsius or minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit or below that. So, we went to the effort to get us get freezers to have here at Phoebe main, at Sumter, and at worth,” said Dr. Sewell.

Phoebe applied through the Georgia Department of Health to be a Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination provider.

Once the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine, Phoebe will have more answers about who is eligible to receive it first.

“Healthcare workers and first responders are in a group proposed by one organization, National Academy of Science. They FDA seems to be leaning toward health care workers and adults and long term care facilities. So, there’s still discussion even about that,” said Sewell.

Information about the vaccine is changing daily, and Phoebe leaders will continue to follow these changes.

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