These past weeks we all have been learning about the COVID-19 vaccine as our nation and state healthcare facilities begin to receive shipments. As with all other qualified healthcare entities, Island Hospital has been approved as a COVID-19 vaccine distribution center. As we wait for the ability to order our vaccine allocation, we understand that there are many questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, such as when they will arrive and how they will be distributed. Island Hospital CEO Charles Hall has put together important information about the COVID-19 vaccines, specific to our community and distribution.
Key information about the COVID-19 Vaccines*
- Two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for release: the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Both vaccines have a high effectiveness rate and similar side effects to the annual flu shot.
- Facility Prioritization: The state has prioritized the vaccine distribution to specific Washington State healthcare facilities. Island Hospital was not initially selected to receive the vaccine. Though, we are expecting the ability to order the vaccine in the coming days.
- There is a four-phased approach in delivering the vaccine to our community. The phased allocation focuses on specific groups over time. This approach was developed by the National Academy of Medicine Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine and was approved by Washington State Department of Health. Phase 1a, 1b and 1c have been approved. Phases 2, 3, and 4 approval and publication are still pending.
- The type and amount of vaccine that Island Hospital will receive is unknown at this time. Initially, we do not expect to receive enough vaccine to cover all individuals within Phase 1. Weekly vaccine distributions are expected to arrive once the shipments begin.
- The arrival and distribution timing of the vaccine at Island Hospital is expected to begin within the coming weeks. Vaccine distribution will be conducted in a four-phased approach over approximately 35 weeks.
- For the latest COVID-19 Vaccine information the Washington State Department of Health is a great resource: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine
Rest assured, our leadership team is working daily with regional and state leaders to expedite the ordering and distribution of the vaccine to our community. As with most hospitals, we are excited to receive and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. When more information about the arrival of the vaccines is available, we will keep you informed.
Our Chief of Staff Dr. Robert Rieger had these comments to share on the vaccine:
“I can’t wait to have this vaccine. I believe it will be highly effective and low risk both in the short and long term. It will provide a huge benefit in working toward addressing the impact that COVID-19 has had on all of our lives.”
Please take time to review the four important charts below detailing information regarding effectiveness and distribution phases. Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is a significant milestone for our community. Thank you again for your support to the hospital during this past year and for staying safe by following CDC guidelines for stopping the spread of COVID-19. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Charles Hall, MSN, MBA
Island Hospital CEO
*Please note that the information shared in this message is evolving daily based on updates from the CDC and the Department of Health.
Figure 1: COVID-19 Vaccines Comparison & Effectiveness
Figure 2: Most Common COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects
Figure 3: Phased Approach to Vaccine Allocation (as of 12/22/20)
- The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has published updated definitions of Phase 1b and 1c this week.
- Phase 1a should be offered to health care personnel and long-term facility residents.
- Phase 1b should be offered to persons 75 years or older and non-health care frontline essential workers.
- Phase 1c should be offered to persons ages 65-74, persons 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not included in phase 1b.
Figure 4: Timing of Vaccine Allocation per Phased Approach