While the vaccine is still waiting on emergency use authorization by the FDA, the State could begin receiving initial doses of vaccine as early as next week.
DOVER (DE): The best news Delaware officials have received since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) broke last March, is that Delaware will begin receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as early as next week.
There are more than 348 people hospitalized in Delaware as a result of COVID-19 complications and the timing could not be better as Delaware Health Care systems are being overwhelmed.
As officials wait on the vaccine approval and arrival, officials are now planning on how they will store the vaccine once it is received. According to the Division of Health, the shipment of an ultra-cold storage unit arrived at the Department of Public Health (DPH) warehouse on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.
Health officials explain that the storage unit will be used to safely store Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which requires controlled storage at an ultra-cold temperature of -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit).
While the vaccine is still waiting on emergency use authorization by the FDA, the State could begin receiving initial doses of vaccine as early as next week, but don’t get too excited because there is a wait and a PLAN for the public to begin receiving the vaccine shots once the emergency use is authorized.
Previously, the State’s Ethics Advisory Group met to consider the Division of Public Health’s most recent recommendations regarding which specific groups should receive the vaccine as part of the first phase of distribution in Delaware.
According to Jen Brestel, a spokeswoman at the Department of Public Health, DPH makes its recommendations based on the goals of reducing death and hospitalization from COVID-19, protecting critical health services provided by hospitals and other medical staff, while also reducing the burden of disease on those who face disparities.
According to the Phase 1A of the state’s distribution plan, as approved by the Ethics Advisory Group and finalized by DPH, include residents of long-term care facilities and high-risk workers with routine exposure to infected individuals or materials in health or patient care settings. This includes Hospital staff, Emergency Medical Service providers who have direct patient contact, Public Health staff who have direct patient contact, Health care providers in outpatient settings, Pharmacy staff, and Staff of long-term care facilities.
Brestel said that “DPH and the Ethics Advisory Group will continue to monitor recommendations from the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for further recommendations regarding subsequent phases. Additional details will be shared as decisions are finalized.”
DPH has also posted the most updated version of its framework (or Playbook) for vaccine distribution on the de.gov/covidvaccine website, and added a section on Vaccine Safety.
The Thermo Scientific Revco ultra-cold storage unit from Fisher Scientific has the capacity to hold nearly 300,000 doses of vaccine. This unit will allow storage of the Pfizer vaccine without the need for dry ice exchange, giving additional flexibility for vaccine distribution within the state.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccine with ultra-cold storage requirements will be shipped directly from the manufacturer in sealed coolers that are packed with dry ice.