St. Joseph’s/Candler hospitals putting plans in place to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – St. Joseph’s/Candler hospitals are preparing for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine. Executives say they’re taking cues from the state and say a vaccine could be ready as soon as November.

“We’ve always got ahead of the curve,” said Paul Hinchey, CEO of St. Joseph’s/Candler.

A COVID-19 vaccine could be a game-changer during this pandemic. It’s still unclear which company will get the green light, but St Joseph’s/Candler hospitals are planning ahead.

Hinchey says daily meetings have been dedicated to discussions about logistics.

“That is a big, big deal,” said Hinchey, “and what that is you have to register with the state, you have to be interviewed by the state.”

“You have to make sure you have enough freezers for the doses,” he added.

Hinchey says freezers are a major component of the preparation process. He says temperatures inside the freezer will be adjusted depending on what vaccine they get.

“When they get out of dry ice they go into a freezer,” said Hinchey. “So we had to order all the freezers and there’s a huge flight plan on how to deploy the vaccine.”

Hinchey says the hospital will take care of its people first, meaning priority will go to caregivers and first responders.

“We’ve applied for 4,200 caregivers and 3,900 first responders, so we’ve asked for 10,000 doses,” he said.

While vaccine distributors will most likely provide syringes and needles to administer the shots, Hinchey ordered 200,000 just in case.

“That is an algorithm that is this wide,” Hinchey said while expanding his arms, “on how to get qualified as a distribution site and then you have checked off all you need to do.”

He hopes to get it by next month, but says the timeline can always change.

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