New Jersey hospitals to administer COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers this week
Shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are on the way to New Jersey. Several hospitals in the state are slated to begin administering doses of the vaccine to hospital workers this week.
University Hospital in Newark and Cooper University Hospital in Camden will start giving out the vaccine on Tuesday. This comes as the state is prepared to receive 76,000 doses of the vaccine, with each person requiring two doses.
Rutgers-Camden nursing professor Staci Pacetti says that one of the most challenging aspects of this vaccine is storage.
“If [hospitals] are able, they would’ve likely been prepared to purchase a specialty freezer that would be able to store Pfizer’s vaccine, which obviously has some storage issues as far as sub-freezing temperatures. In the absence of being able to secure that specialty freezer, then they would look to use a regular freezer and also include dry ice – which, no surprise there – is also in a shortage as we speak,” Pacetti says.
AtlantiCare tells News 12 New Jersey that it will also receive the vaccine this week. A spokesperson said in a statement, "We've prepared throughout the pandemic to be ready to accept delivery of vaccinations as we continue to collaborate with the New Jersey Department of Health and our health care colleagues across the state to prevent spread of COVID-19."
Health care workers, long-term care residents and workers will be the first to receive the vaccine. Others will follow after.
“It will be a supply and demand issue. How quickly they can move into, let’s say phase 1B, which is where people are identifying education professionals to be in that mix, so it is going to be a little bit uncertain how quickly we can move through each of those phases,” Pacetti says.