On Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations arrived at Truman Medical Center (TMC) and University Health (UH) in Kansas City, Mo., nearly nine months after the first COVID-19 death was recorded in the city.
“Precious cargo arrived at TMC/UH this morning,” TMC shared on Monday via Facebook. “As outlined by the federal and state governments, these are slated to go to our frontline staff who have been selflessly helping patients battling COVID.”
The first COVID-19 vaccination was administered by TMC pharmacist Sara Lauterwasser to TMC ICU nurse Sarah Kiehl. Kiehl has been treating COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic, and was the first frontline staff member to receive the vaccine. Eventually, all 4,500 TMC employees will be vaccinated.
On Friday, Dec. 11, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), confirming its safety and effectiveness.
The first shipments of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines brought 51,000 doses to Missouri. The state expects to receive 320,000 doses by the end of the year.
“Today is an exciting day for Missouri as we have received the first of many shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Missouri Governor Mike Parson said Monday. “We have been preparing for many months and will soon begin administering vaccines according to our COVID-19 vaccine plan. We appreciate the tireless work of our scientists, health care workers, state and private partners, and everyone who has helped get us to this point. It is truly remarkable how far we’ve come since the start of this pandemic, and we are very encouraged to now have a verifiably safe and effective vaccine.”
Both preparation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine continue to run according to Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, which was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October, according to the governor’s office.
The plan places patient-facing healthcare workers, as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Phase 1A for vaccination. Phase 1B includes high risk individuals between the ages of 18 and 64, individuals over 65, first responders and essential workers. Phase 2 targets populations found to be at increased risk, including prisoners and those unhoused. In Phase 3 the vaccine will be made available to all Missouri residents.
Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will continue throughout this week to each of Missouri’s 21 initial vaccination sites. These sites include hospitals and health care facilities across the state. As each vaccination site receives its shipment of vaccines, implementation of Phase 1 of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine plan will begin.
Governor Parson reminded Missourians on Monday that although a COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for use, it is important to continue practicing preventative measures, including social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and avoiding large gatherings.
“We are optimistic that this vaccine and future vaccines will provide much needed relief from COVID-19. However, until vaccines are widely available to the public, prevention remains our best weapon against the virus,” Parson said. “We must stay diligent in our efforts and continue to practice COVID-19 preventive measures.”
Biotech company Moderna has also applied to the FDA for authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, a total of five different drug companies, or manufacturers, are testing to see if its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.
“The vaccine will not cost you anything,” according to TMC. “However, vaccination providers can charge an administration fee to the patient’s public or private health insurance company.”
According to the state’s COVID-19 website, Missourians can expect to pay between $0 and $25 to be vaccinated. Missouri residents cannot be denied a vaccine if they cannot afford the associated administration fee or do not have insurance.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, with the second dose needed 21 to 28 days after administration of the first dose. The vaccines will not initially be for children or pregnant women.
For more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and answers to common questions, please visit MOStopsCOVID.com.