Three weeks ago, several Yale New Haven Health employees were the first in the system to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, 16,000 health system employees and affiliated staff have been vaccinated.
“We’re not holding anything back. whatever we get we vaccinate,” said Dr. Ohm Desphande, the executive director for Yale New Haven Health clinical operations.
At a news conference on Monday, Desphande said 15,000 hospital system staff still need to get vaccinated. He said the hospital is capable of doing more with better planning.
“There doesn’t tend to be a whole lot of time between the time when we understand how much we’re getting and then when we’re actually vaccinating, so there’s not a whole lot of lead time,” said Desphande.
He adds that lack of forewarning slows down the process. The system received so far has received 11,000 Moderna vaccine doses and 5,000 of the Pfizer vaccine.
On Monday, 5,000 more doses arrived that will last for five days, but it could be a different number next week. It’s something Sen. Chris Murphy said he’ll take on with the Biden administration.
“We have to be able to produce more vaccine and we have to be able to give hospitals and healthcare providers more certainty about how much vaccine they’re going to be getting on a week to week basis,” Murphy said.
He met with hospital leaders to better understand Yale’s vaccination process. Murphy says he’ll work with the incoming president on expanding vaccine production manufacturers, even through the defense production act, as mass vaccination approaches.
“That is an enormous endeavor that is going to require real certainty about how much vaccine is arriving in New Haven or Hartford or New London on a week to week basis,” said Murphy.