CANTON, Ohio – Aultman Hospital in Canton is poised to become one of the first locations in Ohio to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Chris Parrish, senior vice president of the Aultman Healthcare Delivery System, expects 975 doses to be sent to the hospital from Pfizer, which requests emergency use of the vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration.
Aultman is among 10 hospitals in eight regions selected as prepositional sites. Aultman is located in Region 5. Two hospitals in Region 2, Cleveland Clinic and Metro Health Medical Center, are also on the list to receive the vaccine.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention̵
“We could be notified in a few hours or days of when the distribution of prepositioning will take place,” Parrish said.
Parrish believes one of the reasons Aultman was chosen is because of its ultra-cold storage unit, which can hold 100,000 doses.
“Once they’ve distributed it, we could keep that vaccine here in our ultra-cold storage capacity for a few weeks while it goes through the process with the CDC.
Parrish said the hospital identifies doctors, nurses and other health care workers who are eligible for the vaccine if they choose to receive it.
“Because of their exposure to COVID, of course, we want them to at least have the opportunity to take the vaccine when it becomes available and as soon as possible.”
Parrish said there is also a plan in place for the workers who get the first shot, to also get a booster dose of approx. 2 1/2 weeks later.
“This booster is not part of the original 970 plus that we are getting. The state has identified a mechanism to get us the secondary distribution,” he said.
Aultman, like many Ohio hospitals, has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
“Our available beds are critical right now. We are working feverishly to release more available beds. Like any hospital in the state of Ohio, we are struggling with capacity,” Parrish said.
Even with encouraging news about vaccines, hospital executives throughout northeastern Ohio continue to urge people not to let their guard down by wearing masks and practicing social distance.
“Absolutely from a hospital standpoint, we are not near the end of the tunnel with this,” Parrish said.
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