Wheeling Hospital Gears Up to Administer COVID Vaccine To Front-Line Employees
December 9, 2020
WHEELING, WV – With expectation that the FDA will grant emergency use authorization for COVID vaccines, Wheeling Hospital is finalizing plans on administering the vaccine in phases to its health care workers and long-term care residents. All vaccinations will be on a voluntary basis.
Approval for the Pfizer vaccine is expected late this week, with the hospital to receive a limited supply for front line staff initially. About a week after that, the Moderna vaccine is projected to be approved, with shipments to arrive periodically afterward.
“We hope to have staff vaccinations begin next week and to be completed by mid to late January,” Tony Martinelli, assistant vice president-Pharmacy, said.
Neither the hospital, nor its physicians, will be providing vaccines to the general public at this time. Health care workers are being prioritized in phases for the shots. Hospital employees working in Ohio will be vaccinated through the Ohio vaccine distribution protocol.
“The prioritization pathway was created by our COVID Vaccination Planning Committee based on guidance from the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, in addition to our organizational needs to maintain care and operations,” Dr. Clark Milton, director of Corporate Health, said. “This will ensure efficient and equitable dispersal of the vaccine for our employees, who have worked tirelessly through this pandemic.”
The vaccination phases consider the amount of direct patient care, the units involved, areas with high exposure risk, critical functions to the hospital and groups with risk for staffing shortages.
“As always, the safety of our employees and patients is an utmost priority,” Martinelli said. “As is often repeated: the vaccine is a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel. So we encourage everyone to continue wearing masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing.”
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