How Indiana hospitals prepare to receive COVID-19 vaccines

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INDIANAPOLIS — Friday, December 4 was the deadline for states to pre-order the COVID-19 vaccine. Indiana has yet to release how many doses it has ordered for Hoosiers. However, we do know how the state plans to distribute the vaccines and where.

Indiana hospitals are preparing for hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers to be vaccinated by the end of the month.

In order to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, the first thing hospitals need is the proper equipment.
One of them requires storage in subzero temperatures.

“We are preparing, our pharmacists are working hard to ensure that those freezers are in play,” explained IU Health Nursing Director of Infection Prevention Kristen Kelley.

Next, hospitals need a plan of action once the vaccine arrives.

“We are working on all of those logistical challenges right now, we are doing dry runs to ensure that we have seamless and safe processes,” said Kelley. “A lot of handoffs but really great safety processes that we have set up and we feel encouraged, we’re ready to go.”

But are the people getting vaccinated ready? The first doses will go to long term care facilities and healthcare workers.

“There’s a bit of nervousness just like the general community,” said Kelley. “This is such a new thing, this is such an epic time and we have all, every one of us gone through so many unknowns.”

Vice President Mike Pence said while the vaccine was developed at a record pace, the United States did not cut corners.

“What we want to do is assure the American people that there’s been no compromise in safety or effectiveness in the development of these vaccines,” said Pence.

IU Health is working on a COVID-19 vaccine education plan and will start that process next week.

“We feel really encouraged that once people get the information, they read through it, that it will be a no brainer to go ahead and do it,” said Kelley.

The general public is expected to start getting vaccinated in the first quarter of 2021. Kelley said she looks forward to that day.

“We are all ready to move on from this,” said Kelley. “And this is the exit strategy.”

IU Health alone is expecting to vaccinate thousands in the first week and tens of thousands by the end of the month.

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