UW Health designated a hub for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution

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MADISON (WKOW) — UW Health in Madison will be serving as the regional hub for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

When the vaccine is available, UW Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services will distribute it to health systems and long-term care facilities.

“We are proud to play a role in helping our partners in the area get vaccine doses they need to protect their frontline workers as fast as possible so we can get on to the next group of people to be vaccinated,” said Matt Anderson, senior medical director ambulatory operations, UW Health.

Two pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have applications with the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use of their vaccines. While all vaccines require careful storage, Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored colder than -94 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, the Department of Health Services implemented the hub-and-spoke model which allows doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be stored in a central location then be shipped to nearby healthcare systems and others for use.

While this is promising news, Anderson warns the general public could be waiting for some time for a vaccine.

“These vaccines will be going to frontline healthcare workers first, and there are still uncertainties around the quantities we’ll get and the timing of their arrival,” he said. “The public must remain diligent as it will not be widely available anytime soon.”

Representatives of the Centers for Disease Control have said it could be until summer before the general public could begin to be vaccinated.

The public must continue to follow safety measures during the holiday season to prevent the spread of the virus.

These preventive measures include:

  • Don’t gather in the presence of those outside your immediate household, and if you must, wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart.
  • Wear a mask when in public, even in outdoor locations.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing completely.
  • If you have symptoms stay home.

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