Hackensack Meridian Health prepared to accept COVID vaccine
The FDA approved the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Hackensack Meridian Health officials say that they are ready to accept the vaccine.
Health care workers at the hospital could get the vaccine early next week.
“The team has a huge sense of relief. It’s kind of like the feeling you have on Christmas morning when you come down and you see the gifts under the tree,” says Hackensack University Medical Center president and chief hospital executive Mark Sparta.
Sparta says that he expects that the front-line workers at the hospital could get the vaccine 24-36 hours after it arrives.
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“They’ll receive the vaccine and 20-21 days later they’ll receive a second dose of the vaccine and then 8-10 weeks later, we expect them to be able to develop some level of immunity to the virus,” Sparta says.
The vaccine must be kept at very cold temperatures. And Hackensack University Medical Center has cold freezers to store it.
Hackensack Meridian Health will be able to vaccinate its estimated 26,000 employees who work directly with COVID-19 patients when it arrives.
“We were really concerned that we wouldn’t have access to the vaccine for the front-line health care workers until at least the middle or the end of 2021. But the industry mobilized and within a period of 9-10 months in something that typically takes 5-10 years to develop,” Sparta says.
Sparta estimates that by mid- to late-February the public will be able to get vaccinated across 30 different Hackensack Meridian Health vaccination sites statewide.