Holiday sweaters, candy canes, and vaccine vials. At Swedish Medical Center just outside Denver, Colorado...it’s a holiday and medical celebration. Joy, that is so needed after months of an exhausting COVID fight.
"When I got the text that I was able to get the vaccine today, it was really emotional," Emily Pearce,an occupational therapist who got the Pfizer vaccine, said. "Just like hope for the future and that things are going to start to return back to normal."
"The more people that want to get this that we can give it to in the next couple of months and six months, it's going to be great for everybody," Jordan Ourada, EMS Manager who got the Pfizer vaccine, said.
Hospitals have been able to get through even more of their staff after the FDA cleared using additional doses in the Pfizer viles - 6 or 7 instead of the drugmaker’s recommended 5. These empty vials of Pfizer vaccine are just from a couple of hours.
"We're not wasting a drop of vaccine. You know, we're going to leverage everything that we have," Karl Leistikow, Chief Operating Officer at Swedish Medical Center, said.
Hospitals are preparing for a second COVID vaccine as the FDA moves in on green-lighting Moderna’s vaccine, late Thursday night issuing a statement saying they “will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization.”
"The Moderna shipment actually allows us to complete our entire vaccination process. So we're very eager to get the Moderna," Leistikow said.
In addition to thousands more doses per hospital, Moderna’s longer shelf life and easier cold storage will make getting vaccines into arms even more streamlined.
Some hospitals are allowing their staff to skip Pfizer and wait for the Moderna shot if they prefer. but whichever vaccine someone gets for dose one, they will have to receive the same kind for the booster 3 or 4 weeks later.
Hospitals have been preparing for how to organize giving two kinds of COVID vaccines.
"They’ll be in separate spots in their location in their cold refrigeration. And then we keep a log of everything and how many and that helps us keep track of things," Valerie Davis, Pharmacy Director at Sky Ridge Medical Center, said.