Trinity Health is ready to receive the first shipments of much anticipated COVID-19 vaccine, expected to ship as early as next week.
The first doses arriving to North Dakota will be given to healthcare workers as identified in CDC’s phased vaccination plan. Trinity Health is expecting to receive its partial allocation by mid-December for eligible healthcare workers.
Vaccine will be in limited supply initially, and Trinity Health is following guidelines from the federal and state government on prioritizing the doses.
“We have been planning out the workflow, staffing, and supplies for several weeks to ensure we administer all the vaccine we receive as quickly as possible to eligible staff,” said Carolyn Seehafer, PharmD, DPLA, Director of Pharmacy.
In anticipation of receiving the first doses, Trinity Health provided education for all staff and providers about the vaccine so they can make an informed decision whether to voluntarily accept vaccination. The mandatory education was based on CDC guidance. While the organization encourages the vaccine for eligible healthcare staff, its employees have the option to decline.
A critical step in vaccine distribution is to ensure every employee who gets vaccinated is available for both doses. “These first COVID-19 vaccines require two shots. Both doses must be of the same product, and will need to be separated by either 21 days or 28 days, depending on the vaccine. So anyone who makes a commitment to get vaccinated, must also commit to attending both dates,” Seehafer said.
Trinity Health is also prepared to store the vaccine according to manufacturer requirements. The hospital has ultra-cold freezer capabilities that can reach a temperature less than -100*F. Staff continually monitor the freezer to maintain required temperatures at all times. Along with Minot State University, Trinity Health is one of two locations in Minot with these freezer capabilities.
Mask mandates will continue in Trinity Health facilities for all visitors and staff, in accordance with CDC recommendations to help reduce virus spread.
Later phases of CDC’s plan will include vaccine clinics that target CDC designated at-risk groups. When vaccine becomes more available, further immunization clinics for patients at lower risk will be planned. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html or https://www.health.nd.gov/covid-19-vaccine-information for more information.