COVID Vaccination Begins!

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that Pennsylvania received 97,500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 66 counties, with Philadelphia County receiving its own allotment of 13,650 doses, for a total of 111,150 doses for healthcare workers identified in the state’s vaccine distribution plan. The initial 97,500 doses were delivered to 87 hospitals across the state. The vaccine will be available in phases beginning with critical populations due to the limited supply. The first phase is divided into two parts, with the first doses of vaccine administered to healthcare workers, EMS first responders and residents and staff in congregate care settings. After these priority populations can receive the vaccine, and once a sufficient supply of vaccine exists (likely late spring), everyone will be given access to the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is a suspension for intramuscular injection administered as a series of two doses given 3 weeks apart and must be stored in ultra-low temperature freezers (between -112 degrees Fahrenheit and -76 degrees Fahrenheit), with vials of the vaccine kept frozen and protected from light until ready to use. A second vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, has less stringent storage requirements and is expected to receive FDA emergency use authorization as early as this week with distribution following shortly thereafter.