PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Another lifeline is headed to Hampton Roads. Riverside Health anticipates getting 5,500 Moderna vaccines that will be used for the continuation of phase 1A of the vaccine rollout.
Since last week, 1,700 members of the Riverside team have received the Pfizer vaccine. Riverside has 10,000 employees and associates, but only those with direct contact with a patient who has COVID-19 or suspected of having it are being inoculated under phase 1A. Nursing home residents are also covered under phase 1A.
Cynthia Williams, Riverside’s chief pharmacy officer received her shot in the arm Saturday.
“It was very much like getting a flu vaccine; it was really not more than [that],” said Williams. After waiting the required 15 minutes, she then jumped into action helping with the vaccination effort.
Late Sunday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recommended essential workers including first responders, food industry workers teachers and people over the age of 75 should be next in line.
“So once health care workers are done, long-term care facility residents are done, we will move into [phase] 1B, which is 75 years and older and other front-line essential workers,” said Williams.
As more vaccines head to Hampton Roads, the number of infections is headed in the wrong direction. The positivity rate is more than 11% and the region’s daily new case count is now above 4,000.
State officials are looking into why Virginia’s initial delivery of the Pfizer vaccine was more than 100,000 less than what was initially promised.
At Riverside, the unexpected shortfall forces the health system to dole out the vaccine with a weekly plan.
“I think what this means is that you really are planning week-to-week around how much vaccine we will have and how far that vaccine will go,” said Williams.
Late this week, health care providers will have two vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine arrived last week and the Moderna vaccine will be administered later this week. Each patient should get two doses of the same vaccine a few weeks apart — but mistakes can happen. Protocols are in place to minimize the likelihood of accidental inoculations with a different vaccine.
“When you get your vaccine, you will get a vaccination card that does tell you the dose, the brand. It tells you the lot number of the vaccine, the place where and when your next vaccine is due, or scheduled. We don’t have clear guidance at this point on what this is going to look like.” said Williams.
If you are accidentally given the wrong second vaccine, Williams says at this point health officials are not recommending that you get another dose that matches the first dose. The mistake should be reported to the Food and Drug Administration for further study.
To help residents in Hampton Roads prepare for the next phases of the rollout, Riverside Health hosted a live web event Monday evening at 5 p.m. where a panel of experts discussed how the vaccines were developed, their efficacy rates, and the known side effects of the vaccines.
To view the 5 p.m. event live, click this link.
A recorded version of the event will be posted to YouTube.