The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director told Missouri legislators that the state is “fully prepared to start vaccinating people in December” if the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Randal Williams updated the House Special Committee on Disease Control and Prevention on how a vaccine would arrive and be administered in phase 1 of the plan, which could reach 250,000 of the most vulnerable citizens.
Pfizer is a frontrunner to get Emergency Use Authorization in the novel virus vaccine development and would be distributing the product from its Chesterfield, Missouri facility. That improves the shelf-life of the vaccine, which must be kept chilled at -94F and can only be removed from that temperature four times. The vaccine will be sent in batches every seven days.
“We’re incredibly thankful it’s in Chesterfield,” Williams told the panel. “I’m very hopeful that we can move through phase one with the Pfizer vaccine alone pretty efficiently.”
Phase one delivers the vaccine to the most vulnerable in the population and those that care for them:
Williams said he is has been speaking with Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed who is also overseeing the vaccine’s logistics and that he is pleased with the state’s plan.
The department has identified five hospital sites to administer the vaccine but has not yet announced the names as of this posting.
“We’re working with them to see how exactly they would administer to people who are coming in, for instance from long-term care facilities, to receive their vaccination,” Williams said.
Committee Chairman Jonathan Patterson asked, “We’ll have to bus in people from long-term care facilities to get the vaccine?”
“They will have to transport them, we will get them there to get it, yes,” Williams said.