Memorial Healthcare has taken proactive measures to organize and prepare for the storage and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require specialized storage, handling and administration protocols, and state officials expect COVID-19 vaccines to be made available as early as this month (December 2020) pending FDA approval.
Memorial Healthcare is prepared with both ultra-cold storage and a detailed plan to administer vaccines for those who elect to receive it and meet eligibility requirements.
According to Michigan’s vaccine distribution plans, healthcare workers will receive priority voluntary access to the limited supply of the vaccines in the state. Memorial Healthcare employees, other healthcare workers, and long-term care residents will be among the first to be eligible in Shiawassee County.
“The arrival of this vaccine is a long-awaited turning point in our ability to manage COVID-19 in the community and to protect the health and safety of our valued providers and staff,” said Brian Long, FACHE, President/CEO of Memorial Healthcare. “Preparing for this moment has been a massive undertaking, from procuring equipment to developing new strategies and procedures to educating our workforce. I’m incredibly proud of the way our team has mobilized to meet this moment.”
Memorial Healthcare is one of a few dozen hospitals in the state with the ability to store and administer both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at a temperature of -90°F, requiring a specialized ultra-cold freezer or dry ice. With this specialized equipment, Memorial Healthcare currently has the capacity to store up to 6,000 doses of the vaccine.
The number of doses that will be distributed to Memorial Healthcare is yet to be determined. Once received, the hospital will be able to begin administering vaccines to healthcare workers receiving priority within 24 hours.
In addition to storage, Memorial Healthcare has made plans for the specific handling and administration required for the vaccine in observance of state orders on social distancing and indoor gatherings for those eligible in the first phase of vaccinations. For example, the Pfizer vaccine must be reconstituted and administered within four hours or discarded. Appointments for priority vaccine recipients will be required to ensure every dose prepared can be administered per the established timeframe.
The vaccine is available on a voluntary basis, and it will be provided at no cost to any eligible individual.
To stay up to date on Memorial Healthcare’s COVID-19 activities, visit www.memorialhealthcare.org/coronavirus-covid-19-updates-what-to-know/. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines and relevant data, visit www.cdc.gov.