Coronavirus: Ohio readies for vaccine arrival

DeWine visits warehouse to review process for COVID-19 vaccine redistribution

Gov. Mike DeWine toured an Ohio Department of Health warehouse Tuesday that will be central to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio.

The health department’s vaccine preparedness office has been working for the vaccine’s arrival for months, according to a release from the governor’s office.

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The ODH has been distributing adult influenza vaccine with the same process that will be used to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine as a test exercise at its Receipt, Store and Stage warehouse. It also has been running daily drills with prototype packaging to break down and repackage the vaccine in smaller units, the release stated.

The Pfizer vaccine, which is expected to be the first manufacturer to receive the Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Authorization, will be shipped to Ohio using the following process:

The Pfizer vaccine will be shipped directly to 10 hospitals, including Springfield Regional Medical Center in the Miami Valley. As the supply increases, more providers can receive shipments if ordering 975 doses or more of the vaccine.

Vaccine National Drug Control and lot number information will all be tracked electronically, and packages will be tracked as they are delivered. Each delivery vehicle will contain a GPS enabled device.

Pfizer also will ship the vaccine to the ODH RSS warehouse, where it will be redistributed in increments of 100 doses for smaller local health departments and physician’s offices. The RSS warehouse has ultracold freezers that can each hold up to 720,000 doses.

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When vaccinations are ready to be shipped from the RSS warehouse, it must be removed from ultracold storage and repackaged with dry ice within 2 minutes. To ensure the vaccine can be repackaged quickly and safely, ODH staff and members of the Ohio National Guard are running daily practice drills. All packages will be delivered to the providers within six hours. The vaccine will remain stable for up to five days if it is kept sealed in the original shipping container from the RSS warehouse with dry ice.

The Moderna vaccine, if it is granted an emergency use authorization from the FDA, is expected to be shipped directly to providers who will administer the vaccine and not be processed by the ODH at the RSS warehouse, the release stated.

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