MedStar Health hospital system prepares for first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Hospitals in the D.C. region are expected to receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine sometime this week.

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The MedStar Health hospital system, which includes 10 hospitals and over 30 urgent care centers, is working with officials in Maryland and D.C. to prioritize who will get the vaccine first.

Bonnie Levin, head of pharmacy for MedStar Health, says frontline workers and those who care directly for COVID-19 positive patients will be at the top of the list to receive inoculations. Levin says they have identified locations at each of the hospitals where the vaccine will be administered and have identified people who will be trained to administer the vaccines.

Levin says hesitancy to receive the vaccine is expected even among those who work on the front lines. She says information and education about the vaccine will be available at the hospital centers.

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine faces one final hurdle before an expected decision to greenlight the shot for use in millions of Americans. Food and Drug Administration advisers meet Thursday to scrutinize the company's data for any red flags or oversights. The vaccine must be stored at temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius or below to be effective.