The University of Kentucky says it has successfully completed a test run of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine ordering and receiving process, which it expects to launch in mid-December.
"We're excited about the opportunity to start to have the beginning of the end, if you will, of COVID," said UK President of Health Affairs Dr. Mark Newman. "It's still a ways to go, but we're excited about this phase."
Preparing to handle the Pfizer vaccine is no small task, as it comes with deep refrigeration requirements, but the university is signaling it's ready.
"If you look through health systems, clinics, pharmacies, just about every one of those sites would have a -20 °C medical grade freezer to store things like the Moderna vaccine," UK HealthCare Chief Pharmacist Philip Almeter explained. "The difficulty is finding what you would call ultra-low freezer capacity."
When it comes to that ultra low — minus 80 °C — storage, Almeter says UK is prepared to house 100,000 doses. But early shipments are likely to be a small fraction of that as facilities work to scale up production and distribution.
Two-thirds of the commonwealth's initial delivery will to go to long-term care facilities. The remaining 12,675 doses will be split among 11 healthcare providers in Kentucky, with vaccinations of frontline workers starting as early as December 14th. A delivery of the Moderna vaccine is expected to follow in about two weeks.