BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Pharmacies nationwide are awaiting the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine at their facilities. Vaccinations of healthcare workers and vulnerable groups across the country have already begun.
Several local pharmacies say they expect the vaccine distribution process to run smoothly and similar to many of the other vaccines they’ve given out. But they say since it was developed so quickly they do anticipate having to monitor their patients reaction more closely.
Although, Pfizer’s vaccine has been released, both Cahaba Pharmacy and Mills Pharmacy say they do not plan to se it when it does become available for distribution to them. They say instead, they are applying to be able to administer Moderna’s vaccine. This is due to extreme storage requirements Pfizer’s requires for the vaccine at negative 70 degrees Celsius.
“The Pfizer one requires you to have deep freezers, so right now we are just trying to get the Moderna one,” Jim Parekh, Cahaba pharmacist, said.
“Those freezers are very expensive, so a lot of small businesses won’t be able to afford those freezers, Josh Hardin, co-owner of Mills Pharmacy, said. “But the Moderna vaccine that is also in the pipeline can be stored according to the latest data at least 30 days at refrigerated temperature.”
The coronavirus vaccine may be available to pharmacies as soon as late January.
Healthcare officials expect the vaccine to be in high demand immediately, so they will be using guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health in determining who will receive the vaccine first.