FDA gives emergency OK for Pfizer vaccine as Delware awaits first shipment

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Delaware is poised to receive about  8,800 initial doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use Friday night.

The approval came after the Delaware Division of Public Health announced that it received an ultra-cold storage unit that arrived at the Delaware Division of Public Health warehouse on Tuesday.

The state is also awaiting an oK on emergency approval for an equivalent number of vaccine doses from Moderna.

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The storage unit will be used to safely store the Pfizer vaccine, which requires controlled storage at an ultra-cold temperature  (-94 degrees Fahrenheit).

The State could begin receiving initial doses of vaccine as early as next week.

The Thermo Scientific Revco ultra-cold storage unit from Fisher Scientific has the capacity to hold nearly 300,000 doses of vaccine. This unit will allow storage of the Pfizer vaccine without the need for dry ice exchange, giving additional flexibility for vaccine distribution within the state.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines with ultra-cold storage requirements will be shipped directly from the manufacturer in sealed coolers packed with dry ice.

Also, on Tuesday, the State’s Ethics Advisory Group met to consider the Division of Public Health’s most recent recommendations regarding which specific groups should receive the vaccine as part of the first phase of distribution in Delaware.

Phase 1A of the state’s distribution plan, as approved by the Ethics Advisory Group and finalized by DPH, includes residents of long-term care facilities and high-risk workers with routine exposure to infected individuals or materials in health or patient care settings. This includes the following:

  • Hospital staff
  • Emergency Medical Service providers who have direct patient contact
  • Public Health staff who have direct patient contact
  • Health care providers in outpatient settings
  • Pharmacy staff
  • The staff of long-term care facilities

DPH and the Ethics Advisory Group will continue to monitor recommendations from the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for further recommendations regarding subsequent phases. DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For additional information about  Covid-19 vaccine planning in Delaware, visit de.gov/covidvaccine.

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