RIO GRANDE COUNTY- In a meeting held Wednesday, Dec. 23, Rio Grande County Commissioners discussed the arrival of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and when it will be coming to the county for distribution. Rio Grande County Commissioner Suzanne Bothell opened the conversation with a timeline and who would be have access to the vaccine first.
“Regarding the state vaccine priority list and time approximation, is the first people they are looking to vaccinate would be the frontline medical workers, those who are directly working with COVID-19 patients, then medical workers who do not work directly with COVID patients and then they would go to the general public. They are looking at the first phase taking approximately the first quarter of the year, the second phase taking the second quarter and so on. This is at least a general guideline that we were given by the state.”
According to Rio Grande Public Health Director Dr. Bankole, the county will be receiving mostly Moderna vaccines because it is easier to store and has a longer shelf life than the Pfizer vaccine. In a statement released to the newspaper, Bankole outlined the timeframe for the vaccine which follows.
“For Rio Grande County Public Health Department, efforts and plans; RGCPHD registered and ordered 90 vaccines - Pfizer and/ or Moderna. Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) just confirmed to us that we are allocated only 100 Moderna for first and second doses (3-4 weeks apart). No Pfizer vaccines for the county during the Phase 1A.
Moderna has applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and has been recently approved. Allocation of the vaccine will depend on the state.
CDPHE clarified that the 100 (asked for 90 and they rounded up to 100) doses are just the first shipment. So, potentially we will still be getting another shipment of 100 doses too. Since it is the MODERNA, we have a 30-day refrigeration window. As long as the vaccine is kept under proper refrigeration (39-46 F), and not opened, it is viable for 30 days after defrosting. We are clarifying the viability period, once the bottle is opened. There are 10 doses per vial.
Phase 1B: For LE/EMS/Fire and others in this phase.
We have pre-registered 58 persons to receive the vaccines when ready. Potential location for vaccination: Rio Grande County Annex Hall.
Since it is MODERNA, there is wiggle room to consider taking the vaccine to the EMS agencies as long as the cold chain is maintained. They might not all need to come on the same day or if there are stragglers, we can get them the vaccine a little later. We have a new conventional Pharm Freezer that has arrived, and we have ordered the ultracold freezer.
For Rio Grande Hospital: Rio Grande Hospital registered and ordered 150 vaccines - Pfizer/Moderna
CDPHE was allocated only 50 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will be getting more. Pfizer vaccines will be transported packed in dry ice and once opened should be administered ASAP within four days. The hospital has pre-registered its health care workers for the Phase 1A. The vaccines will be administered to high-risk health care workers that spend more than 15 minutes per day with COIVID-19 patients first, moderate risk health care second and all other, low risk workers third.”