Carilion Clinic receives first shipment of COVID vaccine

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 8:31 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The moment public health officials have been waiting for arrived Tuesday in western Virginia.

Hospitals in our region are now receiving shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, and it will soon be administered to health care professionals on the front lines.

Carilion Clinic received 4,000 doses early Tuesday afternoon.

Video and still photographs released by the health system showed employees unboxing the vaccine and storing it in a freezer.

Dr. Paul Skolnik is chair of medicine for Carilion Clinic.

“We’ve been planning the logistics on how to administer this for a long time,” Skolnik said. “We think we’re going to be able to start administering it on Wednesday, December 16th as we roll things out for our health care providers and for residents of nursing homes.”

In a video released by Carilion Clinic Tuesday morning, Skolnik said the health system was hoping to receive enough doses in the initial shipment to vaccinate all of the people in its highest priority group.

“Priority Group 1a includes health care workers with direct contact with patients, and nursing home residents,” Skolnik said. “Those will be the first groups of individuals who will receive the vaccine.”

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, and public health officials say it will likely be the spring before we see large public clinics. But when the opportunity arrives, Skolnik says he hopes everyone will have confidence in the vaccine.

“So my main message is overall this is a very safe vaccine,” Skolnik said. “You should get it to protect yourself and your community.”

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