OH planning for vaccine arrival
By Christie Netherton, Messenger-Inquirer
Doses expected to be on-site the week of Dec. 21
Owensboro Health is expecting to be included in the second shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations, Dr. Michael Kelley, vice president of medical affairs for Owensboro Health, said Friday.
The shipment of vaccine doses is expected to arrive the week of Dec. 21, he said.
Kelley said he is unsure of how many doses of the vaccine Owensboro Health will get, but regardless of how many are received, the hospital has a plan in place to distribute them.
“I would say that the first people that are going to get these are some of the long-term cares and the workers and staff,” he said. “When you look at how this disease impacts the population, it really does tend to have much worse outcomes in sort of our elderly and higher-risk individuals, and that is the long-term cares often.”
Kelley said there are three tiers for how vaccines will be distributed. Tier one, he said, includes long-term care patients and staff, and health care employees with direct patient contact, such as critical care doctors and nurses and front desk employees. The second tier, he said, will be essential health care workers that are not front-facing, or dealing with direct care, such as operations employees. The third tier would be those employees who have received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within the last 90 days.
“My hope would be that we receive at least 1,000 doses, and we could do pretty good work at getting the highest risk folks vaccinated if we got that many doses and getting into even some of those next tiers as well,” he said.
If the hospital receives fewer doses than desired, which Kelley said is more likely, there is a plan in place to make sure those at the top of the list are vaccinated based on where they work and what patients they take care of, he said.
Although the vaccine will require a booster, Kelley said the initial shipment of vaccines, however many it may be, will not need to be split in half. He said the hospital will receive a second round of doses for booster vaccines.
While the vaccine is new and was produced quickly, Kelley said he hopes it will not deter the public from getting it. He said there has been data released about small sub-percentages of individuals having severe allergic reactions, but that is normal and that many experiencing that typically have a history of allergic reactions.
Kelley said taking the vaccine will be a step toward protecting oneself and others and transitioning back to a normal way of life.
“This is part of the normal process and I don’t want people that may be on the fence about vaccinations … I don’t want this to become something that is really going to drive them completely against it,” he said. “I think that this has been done quickly, but safely.”