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McLaren Bay Region gets ready to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

FILE - In this Monday, March 16, 2020 file photo, Neal Browning receives a shot in the...
FILE - In this Monday, March 16, 2020 file photo, Neal Browning receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. A panel of U.S. advisers will meet this week to recommend who should be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine. Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Published: Nov. 28, 2020 at 10:07 PM EST
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BAY CITY, Mich. (WJRT) -Two healthcare systems are gearing up to distribute COVID-19 vaccines - McLaren Bay is joining the Henry Ford Health System to distribute the vaccine as early as next month.

”They’re saying that if it gets approval, the day that it gets approval, they will be shipping out the vaccine within 24 hours,” said McLaren Bay Region Director of Pharmacy, Dave Haugh.

Two companies have asked for emergency FDA approval to start using the vaccine.

And McLaren Bay Region is preparing to distribute it - as soon as its shipped.

They’re adding a specialized freezer needed to store the Pfizer vaccine-- which has to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below.

“It’s amazing that we can be able to do this . I didn’t want to get into a situation where the vaccine ‘s available and people want it and we don’t have it and we can’t store it correctly, so to me the freezer was key to get us to be able to do this vaccine for the community,” Haugh said.

Haugh says the freezer can hold up to 60-thousand doses of the vaccine, but they will likely only receive a fraction of that.

“The state of Michigan only allowed us the max you could put in for was 5 boxes, and a box is 975 doses, so we put in for the max at 4875 doses,” he said.

Officials say they could have the Pfizer vaccine available as early as December 12th -- and the Moderna vaccine could be available sometime in January.

“The Pfizer vaccine is two doses 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine, which we hope comes closely right after, is two doses 28 days apart,”

So who will get the vaccine first?

“The FDA has kind of come up with a little bit of a structure there for you, and the 1A are going to be the healthcare workers, those on the front lines. 1B, extending that front line further to EMS, fire, police and then the general public,” Haugh said.

The next high-priority group-- could be either high-risk older adults or essential workers.

That is likely to happen between February and March.

The general population’s opportunity to get vaccinated-- may come toward the middle or end of 2021.

Pfizer expects to have more than 1billion doses, sometime in 2021.

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