Health care providers in the Philadelphia region are planning now for vaccine distribution

ByChad Pradelli and Cheryl Mettendorf WPVI logo
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Health care providers planning now for vaccine distribution
With a coronavirus vaccine around the corner, health care providers are making plans for distribution.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With a coronavirus vaccine around the corner, health care providers are making plans for distribution.

Once a vaccine is approved, that distribution will begin almost immediately.

State and local officials will be in charge of getting doses out to the public.

WATCH: Doctor urges minority patients to get COVID vaccine when available

Some minorities may be wary of the coming COVID-19 vaccines, but this Temple doctor is urging her patients to get vaccinated. Here’s why.

Local health officials said they'll follow CDC guidelines and administer the vaccines to health care workers and long term care residents and staff first.

An estimated 40 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are expected to be available later this month.

Two doses are required to fully vaccinate.

Pfizer's vaccine must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.

"We already had one ultra-cold freezer in the health department... we purchased two more," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

RELATED: 'Assume you became infected' with COVID after Thanksgiving gatherings: White House task force report

The report said that anyone over 65 or with significant health conditions "should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked."

Farley said hospitals and nursing homes can administer vaccines on their own.

But how the broader population could receive it could change in the spring.

"We may have some special vaccine clinics we'll set up, we also are likely to work with pharmacies so that people could go to a pharmacy and the same way you go there for a flu shot," he said.

Dr. Marci Drees an epidemiologist with ChristianaCare said those who receive the vaccine will have some mild side effects.

"Things like pain and redness and swelling at the injection site, as well as more systemic side effects like fatigue, headache, maybe some low-grade fever."

RELATED: Couple arrested for boarding San Francisco flight to Hawaii after positive COVID-19 test

A Hawaii couple who traveled from San Francisco International Airport to Kaua'i has been arrested for boarding the flight even when they knew they were positive for COVID-19, officials say.

Dr. Drees said people won't be fully protected for two weeks after the second dose.

How long the vaccines will protect people is currently being studied.

"I think that's the million-dollar question," said Drees. "So obviously, we haven't had enough experience with these vaccines yet to know how long they last."

And as for wearing masks: both doctors say expect to wear them through 2021.