The Ohio Department of Health has released its vaccine distribution plan, even as the state waits for final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a vaccine.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine toured a distribution warehouse on Tuesday, saying that he “really wanted to get a full briefing,” according to local media.
The governor said the state is expecting its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine by December 15, closely followed by Moderna’s vaccine.
“A majority of it will be shipped directly to hospitals, directly to local health departments, pharmacies, and others,” DeWine, Fox8 reports.
Although the Pfizer vaccine will be shipped through distribution centers, the Moderna vaccine — once approved — will go straight to hospitals due to a difference in storage requirements, the state said. Orders of fewer of 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be sent directly to hospitals as supply increases, WHIO said.
The Ohio Department of Health has been running daily drills to prepare for the eventual vaccine approval, using a warehouse to practice repackaging and distributing the vaccines, which officials said must be repackaged within two minutes due to the vaccine’s requirement to be stored at a low temperature. Once packaged, the vaccine must be delivered within six hours.
Ohio said the warehouse in central Ohio, operated by the Ohio National Guard, can hold up to 720,000 doses, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio announced earlier this month that the vaccine is set to be sent to 10 different distribution sites around the state.
“With all the moving parts, there will be some glitches,” DeWine said, Fox8 reports. “There are some that occur. But I have confidence in the National Guard and what they are doing here to divide this up.”
Neither the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine have yet been approved in the United States, although both companies have applied for emergency authorization for their respective vaccines, which both have efficacy rates above 90%.
Ohio currently has more than 414,000 confirmed cases of and 6,224 deaths caused by the coronavirus, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Data from the Covid Tracking Project says the state saw a little more than 9,000 new cases on Monday.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.