One local hospital official called this a pivotal moment in the fight against COVID-19.
“It’s a cautious optimism,” said Temple University Health System chief medical officer Dr. Tony Reed.
Temple University Health System is preparing to receive and start giving vaccines on Wednesday.
Its staff has been divided into four tiers, and the first 3,000 doses will go to those in tier one.
“All who were in direct covid care units or in areas that see a high volume of covid patients. Such as the emergency department or the crisis response unit,” said Reed.
The vaccine could come with some flu-like side effects. Temple Health is advising those who get vaccinated to try to schedule the shot towards the end of their workweek in case they experience side effects.
As for the general population, Philadelphia city officials say it’ll be weeks or months before the vaccine will be available to everyone.
“Over time, it’ll be more sites, and more people will be invited. When it’s available to Philadelphians,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley. “We’ll have much broader announcements as to the many different places they can get it.”
Officials in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware have released vaccine distribution plans.
Healthcare workers and staff, and residents of long term care facilities will be vaccinated in the first phase, followed by essential workers and high-risk groups.
Action News spoke with people who are willing to take the vaccine even with the accelerated roll-out.
“I’d rather take my chances with the vaccine than take my chances with the side effects of the virus,” said Brian Wisniewski of Conshohocken.
Grace Hayes from Baltimore, who was initially skeptical of the vaccine, said, “I saw how Pfizer tested and didn’t cut any corners – I feel a little better about it. And I’m a teacher too, so I’m in dire need of it. I’m ready.”
Health officials are still urging people to continue to social distance and wear masks in public through the holiday season.
COVID-19 numbers will likely continue to rise this winter before the vaccine is widely available, officials say.
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