Leave it to the professionals: COVID-19 vaccine will need expert handling

While complicated, Dr. Janine O'Donnell, the director of pharmacy at St. John's Riverside Hospital, says hospitals have been coordinating with the state, preparing for this for weeks.

News 12 Staff

Dec 4, 2020, 3:18 AM

Updated 1,286 days ago

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New York hospitals have been preparing for a COVID-19 vaccine for months - and when it comes to handling it, News 12 learned why we need pros on the job.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says before being administered, the vials have to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Then, it has to be diluted and stand for two hours.
And if that isn't enough, they must be administered within six hours.
While complicated, Dr. Janine O'Donnell, the director of pharmacy at St. John's Riverside Hospital, says hospitals have been coordinating with the state, preparing for this for weeks.
"We have purchased the ultra-freezer. It's ready to go. It's installed and we are anticipating receiving doses very early on for our employees and eventually rolling it out to the community of Yonkers," she says.
O'Donnell says hospitals have pre-ordered dosages, with no definitive date for arrival.
"We are able to hold thousands in our freezer. It's being shipped out with minimum quantities of 975 doses. So, at minimum we should be receiving that. We hope to get more than that," she says.
Dr. O'Donnell says this endeavor will be the first of its kind, saying they've received pharmaceuticals that have to be stored in regular freezers, but not ultra-freezers.
However, they now know what they're soon facing.


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