With the arrival of its first shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week, the Audrain County Health Department began vaccinating area healthcare workers that are not affiliated with SSM-Audrain …
With the arrival of its first shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week, the Audrain County Health Department began vaccinating area healthcare workers that are not affiliated with SSM-Audrain in Mexico.
ACHD Administrator and CEO Craig Brace says even before the arrival of the vaccine, department staff had been busy planning and working to get out in front of the vaccine’s arrival.
“We have been busy contacting those healthcare workers in the non-affiliated offices that include doctors, dentists and other healthcare workers in Audrain County,” Brace said. “We want to make sure that every one of those front-line workers that wants to take the vaccine will be able to do so.”
ACHD has ordered 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine through the State of Missouri.
“Our census of healthcare workers not affiliated with SSM-Audrain shows this should be enough to cover those that want the vaccine in the first round,” Brace said.
The Moderna vaccine, like the Pfizer one, is a two-dose vaccine. The difference with Moderna is the second dose is given 28 days after the first one instead of 21 days, as with the Pfizer vaccine.
Long-term care facility residents and workers in Audrain County are receiving the vaccine at the same time. Their corporate entities have contracted through the federal government with CVS, Walgreens and Good Neighbor Pharmacies to be provided the vaccine free of charge to their residents and healthcare workers.
Brace says the ACHD’s main focus will be those first responders and essential workers in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan. Those include police officers, deputies, firefighters (paid and volunteer), ambulance crews and anyone whose job puts them at greater risk of coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive patient.
“Those are the people we will be concentrating our vaccination efforts toward in the next phase,” Brace pointed out, adding that the vaccine should be available to them in early January.
Brace said the ACHD has teamed up with the Audrain County Emergency Management Agency to help the department get ahead of the vaccination process on the administrative side.
Director Nicholas Tietsort and his agency are contacting various first responder agencies in the county and getting the members of each department that want the vaccine signed up.
ACHD Medical Director Simon McKeown, MD, was one of the first in the county to get the Pfizer vaccine when it was made available to them December 14.
Each vial of Moderna vaccine holds 10 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial, when unfrozen, has a predetermined shelf life. That shelf life gets shorter once the vial has been pierced by a needle.
Health care providers have to use the whole vial within six hours.
The vaccine is still expected to be available to the general public in Phase III of the Vaccination Plan from the state. That timeline is expected to be late Spring to early Summer.
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