coronavirus vaccine

Health Care Systems Prepare for Vaccine Distribution

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As millions of doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrive across the country, different health care systems are beginning to initiate their plans to distribute the vaccines to their networks.

The wheels are spinning for Yale-New Haven Health officials to get the newly FDA approved vaccines safely to their destinations.

"Our pharmacy is the one doing that allocation and has the facilities in place to safely transport this vaccine," said Dr. Tom Balcezak, a chief clinical officer with Yale-New Haven Health. "It requires ultra-cold storage, meaning -70 degrees centigrade."

Yale-New Haven Health said that they have the right freezers and dry ice to store and ship the vaccines to everyone inside their network which ranges from New York to Rhode Island.

"Once it's thawed, the Pfizer vaccine is stable for about five days and so our pharmacies have mechanisms to thaw it safely, transport it to those locations that don't have the freezers," said Balcezak.

Yale-New Haven Health is familiar with shipping vaccinations to their networks within the state.

"We are no stranger to distributing vaccines and we will be relying on our system for distributing flu vaccines," Balcezak said. "There will be some challenges but the flu vaccination game plan is a great model for how we will distribute Pfizer's vaccine."

How long will we have to wear masks? Is life going to look different during each stage of the vaccination process? Kagya Amoako, Ph.D, associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of New Haven, sat down with NBC Connecticut's Len Besthoff to discuss what impact the COVID-19 vaccine will have on our lives.

Trinity Health is also rolling out its plans to distribute Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to their respective health care networks. The health care system mentioned that it has the ability to store a large number of vials for vaccinations.

"We have the ability at least as related to the Pfizer vaccine to store several hundred doses or vials and remember there are five doses in every vial," said Dr. Reggy Eadie, president and CEO at Trinity Health of New England. "We know that this is going to be a several-month process, so we're doing our part as a health care region to ensure we have adequate storage for the Pfizer vaccine."

The city of Hartford is also stepping up to help with distribution efforts.

"We are ready and prepared to play our role as a vaccinator," said Mayor Luke Bronin. "We expect that we will be helping to administer vaccines to our workforce at a minimum and we are prepared to do more if called on."

Bronin and other health leaders are still urging the public to continue adhering to the state's guidelines.

"It remains real and we've got to continue to take every precaution we can," said Bronin. "We've got to wear our masks, we've got to wash our hands and we've got to watch our distance from other people."

Trinity Health and Yale-New Haven Health are expecting to receive just under 2,000 vaccines by Tuesday morning.

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