First vaccine headed to hospital

Allen County Regional Hospital was expected to get its first round of COVID-19 vaccine today and begin administering shots to front-line health care workers Thursday. Other vaccine distributions are not yet known.

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December 16, 2020 - 9:57 AM

Allen County Regional Hospital’s first round of COVID-19 vaccine was expected to arrive today, with the first shots likely to be administered Thursday.

The hospital was expected to receive 45 vaccines. Front line staff and hospital providers who have direct contact with patients and who agree to be vaccinated will receive the first shots, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Today, hospital administrators will decide who gets the shots and complete required paperwork. The shots are expected to be administered Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. 

The first vaccine is likely to go to those with the most contact with patients, such as emergency department staff and those who screen patients at the doors. Vaccines will be voluntary.

The vaccine distribution is being organized through the Saint Luke’s Health System, which leases the facility and provides health care services in Allen County. Anderson County Hospital, also part of the system, was notified it also will receive the vaccine.

It’s not yet known when more COVID-19 vaccines will be available, but other health officials are hopeful to learn more soon.

Rebecca Johnson, director of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Departments, said she hopes to find out more about plans for the vaccine by the end of the week.

The health department and local health care providers likely will distribute the vaccine when it becomes available in this area.

Johnson said she will release information as it becomes available, including to the media and on the department’s Facebook page.

The CDC and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly prioritized the vaccine for health care workers, those on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Those who live in nursing homes and assisted care facilities are also a priority.

Next in line in Kansas will be those who work in meatpacking plants and essential workers like those at grocery stores. 

Government officials gave the green light over the weekend to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, and the first shots were administered Monday to health care workers. 

The FDA is expected to approve a vaccine from Moderna later this week, increasing the amount of vaccine available. Moderna’s vaccine uses the same technology as Pfizer, but does not need to be kept at quite as cold of temperatures and is therefore easier to ship and store.

COVID-19 has killed more than 300,000 people across the U.S., including at least one person in Allen County. In Kansas, 2,109 have died from the coronavirus.

Allen County has had 483 cases since the pandemic began, with 60 active cases as of late Tuesday.

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