Hospitals eye week of Dec. 14 for vaccine arrival in Denver area

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — In a matter of days, ultra-cold freezers at healthcare settings across Colorado will be used to store doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Hospital administrators at HealthONE’s Presbyterian/ St. Luke’s Medical Center (PSL) said the week of Dec. 14 is the most likely estimated time of arrival for the precious resource.

“We’re getting a daily deluge of information,” said Jason Blauwet, director of pharmacy at PSL.

Blauwet is tracking the logistics. 

“As soon as we receive it, we’ll start implementing a plan to administer it,” he said.

Overnight delivery to the Denver hospital, from FedEx, will occur following arrival by air in Colorado. The vaccines will need to remain between negative 60 to 80 degrees Celsius each step of the way. Ultra-cold freezers  are already on location at the PSL campus, and at other locations across Colorado. CDPHE has, so far, identified 16 storage locations across the state.

“Our hospital system is working directly with the state to coordinate on vaccine shipments,” Blauwet said.

PSL said it does not yet know how many doses it will receive initially. The hospital said it expects the state will be asking questions soon.

“We anticipate that the state will be asking us how many we would like to receive and how many we can safely implement without the vaccine spoiling in any way,” Blauwet said.

The first shipment will only be for the first dose in the two-dose series, according to PSL. The federal government will then authorize a second shipment for the second dose at a later date.

Administering the vaccine depends on pending FDA emergency approval. When asked if vaccine shipments could arrive at PSL prior to approval, Blauwet said, “We would love that, but we have not heard that that’s going to be the case.”

Doctors in Colorado expect FDA approval as soon as next week. Dr. Fauci said the average healthy American should expect widespread vaccine availability as soon as April of 2021.

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