Yavapai County prepares for COVID vaccine distribution
VERDE VALLEY - Yavapai County Community Health Services is preparing to distribute the COVID vaccine.
The drug company Pfizer is expected to seek the emergency authorization of its experimental vaccine against COVID-19 later this month, according to news reports. The Pfizer drug will require two vaccine shots administered three weeks apart, and it has to be stored at 94-degrees below zero Fahrenheit
At first, the vaccine will available in limited supply and allocated to hospitals and some local providers, explained Terri Farneti, YCCHS spokesperson.
She expects the COVID vaccine would be available to the general public by April through primary-care providers and pharmacies, similar to the way the influenza flu vaccine is distributed.
Ironically, Yavapai County has not had any cases of influenza this season. “We have seen a considerable jump in our clinics for flu vaccinations. The current CDC guidelines are most likely keeping the flu from spreading,” Farneti said.
“We have been advised that we do not need the ultra-cold storage due to the immediate distribution planned,” Farneti explained.
“YCCHS has received funding to purchase the freezers and necessary cold storage for local distribution. We plan for freezers in each of our locations – Prescott, Prescott Valley and Cottonwood.”
“YCCHS has been surveying local partners to gather data for planning in ordering the vaccine and coordination of the distribution when the vaccine is ready, Farneti continued.
For Phase Two, the vaccine should be more available to be administered by on-boarded providers, which includes the Community Health Center of Yavapai clinics and YCCHS public health nurses. They will go to first responders, healthcare workers and long-term care residents.
In Phase Three, which may occur by April, “The vaccine is expected to be in ample supply to be allocated to the general public by primary care providers, pharmacies, similar to the flu vaccine,” the spokesperson said.
“County nurses would be utilized at this point. It is possible at this point that off-site vaccination clinics could be implemented, like was done for H1N1,” Farneti added.