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COVID-19 vaccine delivered to Riverside Methodist Hospital

OhioHealth received 1,950 doses in total in Columbus and Athens.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nearly 2,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Columbus on Tuesday.

OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital received the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine and will start administering the vaccine on Wednesday.

OhioHealth received 1,950 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Half will stay at Riverside Methodist while the rest will go to OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital in Athens.

Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious diseases specialist with OhioHealth, said people inside the hospital were emotional, some cried, when the vaccine was delivered.

He said the emotion is from them seeing so much during the pandemic.

“When history judges this war against this virus, today is the turning point, we will have really what is the true game changer,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

Riverside Methodist Hospital is one of eight hospitals in Ohio receiving vaccine shipments Tuesday.

The others being:

  • Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
  • Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
  • Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
  • Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center, Clark County
  • Aultman Hospital, Stark County
  • OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Athens County
  • Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

Dr. Gastaldo said the vaccine will first go to those in Tier one, which that includes doctors and nurses.

“It also includes people like therapist, people who clean the rooms, people in environment services, people who deliver the food. Those are all people who not only take care of COVID-19 patients, but also support the doctors and nurses,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

He said a lot of preparation and planning are in between when first initially receiving the vaccine to when it is administered.

“The Pfizer vaccine operationally is the most challenging one to deal with so far,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

Dr. Gastaldo hopes to receive Moderna’s vaccine as early as next week. He said that one can be stored in room temperature.

However, Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored in ultra-cold temperatures.

Once taken out of the freezer, it’s only good for a specific amount of time in the refrigerator.

“It comes in a powder form, it has to be reconstituted and once reconstituted, those vaccines have to be given out within a few hours,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

He said if all of that is not followed meticulously, the effectiveness of the vaccine is not as guaranteed.

The vaccine also needs to be taken twice.

Both Dr. Gastaldo and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said it will take months to really see change. Husted said people must continue to wear masks and socially distance.

“This is not going to be like a light switch, it’s going to be more of a dimmer switch,” Lt. Governor said.

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati both received deliveries Monday.

Both of those hospitals started vaccinating its health care workers that same day.

The state is on track to receive another 650,000 doses in January and continue to receive the same amount for the coming months.

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