Coronavirus vaccine to arrive at Louisiana hospitals

The Chief Quality Officer at MUSC said the hospital system has the equipment to store the...
The Chief Quality Officer at MUSC said the hospital system has the equipment to store the Pfizer vaccine, which requires ultracold storage.(Pfizer)
Updated: Dec. 12, 2020 at 12:43 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The first doses of the now FDA approved Pfizer vaccine could arrive in the next 48 hours as local hospitals prepare to receive the shipments and distribute them to healthcare workers at Ocshner and LCMC hospitals.

The LCMC-run University Medical Center in New Orleans will get 7,000 vaccines, while the Ochsner Health System will get 9,300.

In total, Louisiana will receive 80,000 doses before the end of the year.

Health educator Dr. Eric Griggs says if this vaccine works as promised, it will not only have put a halt to the pandemic.

It will have changed the medical game and how we deal with any future virus.

“It is truly amazing. This messenger RNA technology, It’s amazing,” said Griggs.

“If we’re able to get the genetic code and we’re able to train our bodies to make proteins on the outside in a short period of time, it changes everything. Especially if it’s cost efficient. This is groundbreaking stuff.”

According to top local hospital officials, the vaccine will likely not be mandatory for health care workers, and there are still some concerns about how it could affect specific groups like pregnant women.

The FDA could also consider a second vaccine made by Moderna within a matter of days that would be sent to the most vulnerable staff and patients in nursing homes.

“The Pfizer vaccine requires lets just say a special sub zero freezer, and it needs cold chain, which means it stays that temperature the entire time,” said Griggs.

“In rural areas, you might see the other vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, because it can be stored in a regular freezer, like a freezer you have in your home.”

As we watch the vaccine come out in phases over the next several months to those groups most in need, Griggs says seeing the scientific method unfold has helped ease his some of his concerns, and will hopefully do the same for others when it finally reaches the general population in the Spring/Summer of 2021.

“I’m confident and excited.”

“Basically COVID has taken the curtain and pulled it to the side to show what happens in the scientific process when we have infectious diseases.”

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