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

ByChad Pradelli and Cheryl Mettendorf via WPVI logo
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.