Hospital could have COVID-19 vaccine by end of week

(Courtesy photo)

Sheridan Memorial Hospital could have some doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week.

That will be the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. John Addlesperger, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said earlier that the Pfizer vaccine wouldn’t be available here because the hospital didn’t have the freezer capacity to store the vaccine at the supercold temperatures required.

But in an interview with Sheridan Media Tuesday, he said the hospital does have a freezer capable of keeping the vaccine.

Dr. Addlesperger said that isn’t enough for a whole community, so the hospital has ordered another freezer.

A second COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, is still awaiting approval from the national Food and Drug Administration, but if that happens, Dr. Addlesperger said Sheridan Memorial might have that vaccine by the week of Dec. 21.

He said the hospital has heard it may get as many as 1,000 doses of that vaccine.

The first to receive the vaccine when it becomes available here will be hospital personnel, specifically those taking direct care of COVID-19 patients. Also in that first group of recipients, he said, will be emergency medical personnel and fire personnel who are also EMTs. After that, the vaccine will be available to care providers and patients at long-term care facilities.

Dr. Addlesperger and other health care professionals are recommending that even if they’ve already had COVID, people get immunized once the vaccine becomes available. He said no one knows whether having the illness will confer immunity to having it again, or how long an infection will prevent people from being re-infected.

He asked people to be patient with the immunization process, saying it might be several months, into late spring, before everyone can be vaccinated.

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