Health

Mass. hospitals prepare to receive, distribute Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine next week

BOSTON — Pfizer has said the company is busy producing its COVID-19 vaccine at a few manufacturing sites across the U.S., including at its facility in Andover, Mass. The company plans to ship millions of doses over the next week after receiving Emergency Approval Authorization from the FDA Friday.

Hospitals are now getting ready to receive those shipments.

>>>MORE: Pfizer to produce COVID-19 vaccine at local manufacturing site, company says

“Once we know exactly when it arrives, we’ll implement our plan looking at day 1, day 2, day 3,” said Dave Reisman, who works with the COVID-19 Vaccine Planning and Operations Team at Mass. General Brigham.

Mass General Brigham is preparing to receive several thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.

“Our clinics across the system will start up slowly,” Reisman said. “So it’ll be a soft launch and we’ll build from there, and we expect by the end of next week to be in full operation.”

Reisman said they’ll have at least 10 clinics set up to administer the new COVID-19 vaccine to their employees most likely the day after they receive that shipment. Mass General Brigham has 80,000 employees, but they’ll be giving the first doses to health care workers on the frontlines who work directly with patients.

“The really good news is we expect to have enough vaccine available in the coming weeks to be able to vaccinate all of our staff in really a few months,” Reisman said.

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Reisman added that they plan to vaccinate about 1,000 employees each day and can move up from there. The hospitals will also make sure each person receives the second dose a few weeks later from the same distributor.

“Our systems are designed to first take the Pfizer vaccine and administer it safely and effectively to our employees and then be ready to pivot to accept other vaccines, other products when they become available,” Reisman said.

Hospitals are preparing to store the Pfizer vaccine in freezers when it arrives. Reisman said the approval of this vaccine is a bright light in the fight against this pandemic, but added that it’s not over yet.

“Just because we receive our vaccinations for our employees and patients doesn’t mean you should stop wearing masks,” Reisman said. “We should expect to be wearing masks and practicing physical distancing for the immediate future and likely for quite a while afterward.”

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