First doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Philadelphia

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Monday, December 14, 2020
FIrst COVID-19 vaccine doses begin to arrive in Philadelphia
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A total of 1,950 of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine doses are now safely stored in sub-zero freezers at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's here, close to home.

A total of 1,950 of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine doses are now safely stored in sub-zero freezers at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Employees in the emergency department and intensive care unit, along with workers with comorbidities, will get them first.

"The first dose will go into someone's arm at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning," said Dr. Steven Sivak, who heads the Einstein Health COVID-19 vaccine task force.

The shipment will go towards the first round of vaccinations for nearly 2,000 staff members. The process of vaccinating all Einstein employees who volunteer will take two to three months.

In New Jersey, Cooper University Hospital will begin administering the shots to healthcare workers on Tuesday. St. Francis Medical Center will start next week.

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Here's a breakdown of the number of vaccine vials expected to arrive in the Delaware Valley:

-In Pennsylvania, 83 state hospitals will administer 97,500 immunizations to hospital workers.

-Philadelphia will get its own direct shipment of 15,000 doses from the Centers for Disease Control

-New Jersey expects to obtain 76,000 vials of the Pfizer vaccine by Tuesday

-Delaware will get nearly 9,000 vaccine doses in its first shipment.

"Operation Warp Speed" already has the second-dose vials in storage to be delivered for patients three weeks after their first immunization shot.

More good news is likely to come, says Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

"If the FDA and the CDC approve the Moderna vaccine, we'll also be getting shipments of the Moderna vaccines next week," says Dr. Levine.

Moderna is up for FDA emergency use authorization approval on Thursday.

Dr. Sivak says there isn't much difference between what's inside the Pfizer and Moderna shots, though Moderna is much easier to store. It can last in a regular refrigerator for up to 30 days, while the Pfizer vaccine must be stored in temperatures as low as -94 degrees.

Dr. Sivak says there shouldn't be so much of a concern whether you receive Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, just that you get the same brand of vaccine for the two-dose shots.


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In her eight years of nursing, Julia Kristen has never seen anything like this.

"I just can't get over how bad it is," said Kristen, who is a registered nurse working in the emergency room of Einstein Hospital. "Just one after another patient coming in so sick."

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