WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine have arrived to the nation’s capital. Howard University Hospital received 725 doses Monday morning around 7 am; 1 dose per staff.
While this is exciting news, the general public may not see the vaccine for a while. The first phase will roll out to those at highest risk of contracting the virus which includes frontline healthcare workers and those in long-term care facilities.
On Tuesday morning, frontline healthcare workers and leadership at Howard University Hospital will be getting the first batch. CEO Anita Jenkins said this is about making a statement and setting an example to lessen the fear people may have surrounding the vaccine.
“I am going to be a part of the team who really wants to say it’s safe to take the vaccine. We have to understand that so many people particularly black and brown people are a little bit nervous about this vaccine. Everyone is a little bit, but we want to take it so we can say – this is our start to curing and getting rid of COVID-19,” said Jenkins.
FOX 5 got an exclusive look inside the hospital’s pharmacy where the vaccine is being stored. The doses are in cold storage units which reach temperatures 80 degrees to 60 degrees below zero.
In the next few days, the hospital will receive a second batch of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are supposed to get four doses. Don’t forget we have to have a first dose and second dose. We are expecting those doses every couple of weeks to make sure we get everyone their first dose and then we have to get our second doses starting in three weeks,” said Jenkins.
The hospital is also prepared with a cold storage unit for when the Moderna vaccine becomes available.
In a statement, the hospital said it means a lot to take part in the most ambitious vaccination effort America has ever seen.
“This is historic moment in our hospital and city’s history and an equally important moment for our patient populations. D.C. has one of the highest COVID-19 mortality rates in the country. Taking the vaccine places us on a path to recovery by successfully decreasing the virus numbers in our community. The more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, means there will be less chance of the disease spreading. We are encouraging our all of healthcare workers to take the vaccine to lessen any fears in the community.”
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 for updates on the vaccine roll out.