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Allina Health preparing to give vaccines to health care providers

[KSTP-TV News, December 15, 2020] The first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Minnesota. Allina Health is expecting its initial allotment this week. Allina Health vaccine planning team member and Abbott Northwestern Hospital vice president for medical affairs, Dr. John Smyrski, talked with KSTP News about the planning Allina Health is undertaking to be ready to give the vaccine as soon as it comes.

Now that the first shipment of Pfizer's vaccine has arrived in Minnesota, our health care workers are getting their first doses of the shot.

And it is a glimmer of hope for those frontline workers who've been treating patients for months and still have a tough winter to get through. Tonight, our Eric Chaloux has more on the plan to vaccinate as many of them as possible.

All right, now going for it.

It was a moment months in the making as one of the first health care workers in the state of Minnesota got a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Honored and proud to be able to get the vaccine and kind of be a part of moving forward.

Nurse Tara Whitty works at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center tending to COVID-19 veterans battling the disease.

It is a personal choice. But I think, for me, it's not just preventing getting COVID myself. It's the safety of my family, our communities, and then here my colleagues and the veterans that we take care of.

[APPLAUSE]

The first of the Pfizer vaccines arrived in the state on Monday, a few thousand. And by week's end, around 47,000 are expected to be delivered for frontline staff at select medical centers.

We've been planning for many, many weeks trying to prepare for this, going through dry runs.

After midday, Dr. John Smyrski at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, part of Allina Health's vaccine planning committee, says they were still waiting for the vaccine. He says their plan calls for the first doses of the vaccine for staff to be given out early next week.

It's not as simple as your typical flu vaccine. Many more moving pieces and parts. And we want to ensure that we use every single dose. We can't afford to let one go to waste.

It wasn't until today when Minnesota's department of health posted provider vaccine guidelines after awaiting federal guidance. A top MDH official says they wanted to make sure the vaccine is administered properly and expects most hospitals to vaccinate staff later this week or early next.

Starting to vaccinate people tomorrow versus a few days later won't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of k when it comes to changing the trajectory of the pandemic.

As for Nurse Whitty, she hopes the vaccine brings relief to the community.

I think everyone is just kind of feeling really hopeful that this is the beginning of the end. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

In Minneapolis, Eric Chaloux, 5 Eyewitness News.

Posted on December 16, 2020 in coronavirusInfectious Disease

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