Hospitals scramble to get ready for coronavirus vaccines |

From ultra-cold storage capabilities to extra security staff, facilities are bracing now for their role in distribution of an eventual vaccine.

Hospitals will play a key role once a vaccine receives an emergency use authorization from the FDA, which could happen as soon as next month. They will move quickly to vaccinate their front-line healthcare workers and then their patients and surrounding communities.

But the task, like so much else related to the novel coronavirus, is unprecedented. 

The task is complicated not only by shipping logistics and environmental control, it is also regulated by each state and territory, along with six major metropolitan areas, has its own distribution plan that has to be approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those 64 plans are generally based on what was drawn up for distribution of the H1N1 vaccine more than a decade ago.  To add further complication, the FDA has multiple candidates for an EUA that require different storage and administration tactics.

Much of the planning is already underway, but only so much can be done until an EUA is granted. Two vaccine candidates have so far said they have data showing efficacy at about 95% — one from Pfizer (BioNTech) and the other from ModernaThe crucial raw data, however, have yet to be released for peer review.

With healthcare workers first in line for a vaccine, the process for hospitals will start as soon as a vaccine is approved, and Trump administration officials said this week they expect doses to be at the jurisdictions within 24 hours of approval.

"Hospitals have borne the brunt of this pandemic," said Julie Swann, health systems expert with North Carolina State University. "Hospital staff, the doctors and nurses, have just been overwhelmed in the ERs and the hospital wards. I'm glad they are among the priority groups for this vaccine and I'm hopeful that the vaccine will decrease the workload they have borne for this entire time."

Much of the work involved for vaccination will be at the final mile, from vial to patient.  The distribution process will be along classical distribution channels such as FEDEX, UPS established routes. President Trump has promised the use of DOD assets for distribution of the vaccine. The logistical infrastructure is already in place.  Once the FDA grants the EUA shipment will begin within 24 hours dependent soley upon availability.

The processes are already well underway.

Many potential vaccine candidates will wait until a trial period has been completed from six months to one year in length.  Side effects become more visible after the public release of any new drug or vaccine.

Hospitals scramble to get ready for coronavirus vaccines | Healthcare Dive