CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Coastal Health District (CHD) has received their first shipment of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The CHD director said the district received 2,100 doses of the vaccine for their health departments and it will begin being used in conjunction with the supply of Pfizer’s vaccine soon.
Dr. Lawton Davis says of the 2,100 doses they got from Moderna, 400 will stay in Chatham County with the others being sent throughout the district.
But the challenge now focuses on planning. Moderna’s vaccine can be refrigerated longer, but it poses scheduling complications.
“The Moderna vaccine comes in a multidose vial that contains ten doses and once you put a needle into that multidose vial the first time to withdraw a specimen, you then are on the clock and you have to use that entire vial within six hours or the rest of it is wasted,” Dr. Davis said.
To avoid that, the district is focused on appointment bases vaccinations. While they are still working out the best practice, Dr. Davis says the challenge is in rural communities.
“In a rural county there may only be, you know, 10 or 15 providers in some of the small counties and if only 30 percent of those you know want to actually take the vaccine, there may not be 10 people available to use the entire ten dose Moderna vial so again it becomes a bit of a puzzle,” Dr. Davis said.
As of right now, Dr. Davis says they are still in tier 1A and have used only about 45 percent of their Pfizer shipment in the first week because of the scheduling components. With the additional doses from Moderna, vaccinations will continue but he does not know for sure when the next tier will begin.
In fact, he says it’s important to remember though we are seeing shots of hope, it’s not over.
“There’s a sense of relief that we know the vaccine is in the community and that people are receiving it, but basically not very many people have gotten it yet and it takes a while for them to be protected and we don’t know that it protects them from the asymptomatic infection so in reality as far as the general population being able to prevent the spread or prevent themselves from catching it the message is exactly the same,” Dr. Davis said.
Dr. Davis says with the holiday coming up and infections in our area on the rise, we must keep our distance, wash our hands, and wear a mask.