Hudson Valley hospitals prep for arrival of coronavirus vaccine
Hospitals in the Hudson Valley are preparing for the process of receiving the coronavirus vaccine from Rockland-based company Pfizer.
St. John's Riverside Hospital has been working with New York State to prepare for weeks in hope that a vaccine will soon be ready.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo explained that handling the boxes of the vaccine should be left up to professionals because it's a delicate process.
He says when someone has the package in their care, they have to replace the dry ice every five days.
During that time, they can only open the box two times a day for 60 to 90 seconds each time.
Employees at the hospital say they are relieved that the vaccine is coming soon.
"It's a great thing for us, for all the staff," says Jose Anjos. "Everybody's working the front lines—doctors, nurses. Everybody feels great because this is really what we need."
Hospitals like St. John's Riverside have purchased an ultra-freezer, which they need to keep the doses cold.
"It's first of its kind," say director of Pharmacy at St. John's Riverside Hospital Janine O'Donnell. "We've received our pharmaceuticals with regular freezer temperatures. Never the ultra-freezer."
According to the hospital, the ultra-freezer costs $18,000.
Cuomo says before being administered, the vials have to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
He says they then have to be diluted and stand for two hours.
Finally, they have to be administered within six hours.
Doctors say they have pre-ordered the vaccines with no confirmed date for arrival.
O'Donnell says it is being shipped out with minimum quantities of 975 doses, but they hope to get more than that.
They expect them to arrive soon for employees and down the line for the general public.