Lincoln, NE (December 1, 2020) A target date has now been set for starting to give Covid 19 vaccinations. December 14th is the date CHI health expects to begin vaccinating its own employees. The hospital chain’s pharmacy director Mike Tiesi says the rollout will be slow as additional vaccine is available.
“I think the best we can say is late spring when we receive sufficient doses to do mass vaccinations.”
The first shipment of vaccine, he says, will be small.
“We’re getting numbers that it could be 15,000 doses in the initial shipment to the State of Nebraska. It’s not a huge number of doses, but it is sufficient enough to cover our first line workers and then start the process.”
CHI has purchased the special freezers, which will keep one type of vaccine at the required minus-94 degrees needed for safe storage. CEO Cliff Robertson said they cost around $10,000 each. One will be stationed at a CHI Hospital in Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island.
Robertson says despite the politics that have been injected into the situation, he’s convinced the vaccines will be safe and effective.
“I’m very comfortable, and I know first hand that the professionals that make up the FDA are going to do the right thing, and they wouldn’t release a vaccine if it wasn’t felt to be safe.”
Both Robertson and Tiesi called the 90% to 95% effectiveness of the vaccine “phenomenal”.
Asked how many people will need to have the vaccine before the general public can stop wearing masks, Robertson said it will be a combination of how many have been injected and how many have been infected.
“We really need about half the population immune, either through infection or through vaccine, to really see a different trajectory in the course of this pandemic.”
Current plans call for vaccinating front line health care workers, first responders, and others in “essential occupations” first, and then offering it to the General Public. Both men agreed that sufficient supplies should be available by late spring to provide a vaccination to anyone who wants one.
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