Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the vaccine: Here’s what distribution looks like on the front lines

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

One woman got vaccinated though she is technically on furlough. At a military hospital, things ran pretty smoothly — though there were some delays in defrosting. And in North Carolina, a mother, father and daughter all got vaccinated for coronavirus in the week of Dec. 20.

We’ve been collecting stories of vaccinations from our friends and acquaintances around the internet. See our previous posts here and here.

Here are a few more, all from the week of Dec. 20.

A clinical faculty member in Alabama said she had received an invitation to schedule a time. She wrote, “Yesterday I advocated for half a dozen of my lowest salary direct reports to get vaccinated before anyone else in our group. And because I’m home on vacation, I have no idea if any of them have been scheduled.”

“By necessity, all of this needs to be done fast. And since there have been some reports of adverse reactions, it was prudent not to immunize whole units on the same day. And because the of the temperature the vaccine needs to be stored at and the requirements of distance separating people in lines, it’s necessary to schedule people so no doses go bad. It’s a big, complicated process, and each facility is doing the best they can, to keep all clinical units at reasonable staffing throughout the pandemic.

“Overall, I think my facility is doing a very good job. Communication has been specific and nearly daily, reaching out to let us know of challenges (please stop showing up with no appointment) and of changes in procedure (your appointment will be communicated in e-mail, not a phone call). They’ve also let us know which groups are currently being vaccinated, which will be next, and which are likely to be vaccinated before the end of January.

“The requirement to be fast has no doubt led to some being vaccinated before others who have more on-the-job exposure. I haven’t heard of specific cases, but it feels inevitable. The lists of prioritization that my employer says they’re following appears to avoid the more unusual cases I’ve heard about (on the news) at isolated places around the country. Though some of the people being vaccinated early that we hear about on the news are likely to fall into groups like key emergency management personnel, who may not have regular exposure to patients with Covid, but who would be essential if we were to have another widespread emergency, like an ice storm.

“I saw 4 members of my department coming, going, or in the waiting room, so I think we probably all got the invitation at the same time. The post-vaccine waiting room is a huge auditorium, half the rows blocked off, two of every 3 remaining seats blocked off, and they kept it about half full, which gave the workers with the wipes time to go through.

“Slightly inconvenient: the card we have to save until our second shot (Jan 16-ish for me) doesn’t fit well in my wallet. It’s a 3 x 4 inch card, so mine will be bended.

On furlough, she still got vaccinated

A health care provider in Marshall County, Iowa, said she had a Moderna shot on Dec. 24.

“My case is a little different from the norm. Our clinic had set up the usual tiered approach to vaccine distribution. I have been furloughed since April but I’m still on the email list. So I knew that the vaccine was coming and figured i’d ask to get one if they had enough for everyone who sees patients. I have done some projects for them since covid ( not direct patient care) and they do not know when I will be called back in . But, they must have had enough to immunize the whole clinic, so they agreed to shoot me up! I’m happy!”

A nurse at a small military hospital in northwest Florida wrote: “”We are getting the Pfizer. … Aside from fatigue and a sore, swollen upper arm, the first one went pretty well.””

She added: “We are the locus of the Dept of Defense roll out to military treatment facilities in Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida. We’re getting the Pfizer vaccine.

“Active duty and civilian corpsmen, nurses, and providers were labeled Priority A1 to receive the vaccine, and I received Injection 1 of 2 on roll out day, Dec. 18 at 0930. There was an orderly queue, some paperwork, and a quick shot. No drama, no shortage of vaccine, & no bumping line. I’ll point out that our CO and XO are both providers and were eligible anyway, but were both in Washington on that day.

“My MTF did a great job. The biggest problem was that they were defrosting the doses as they projected need, and there were delays while they defrosted more.”

I got my vaccine the first day it was offered to my hospital staff (not required at this point). Amongst me I saw other nurses, physicians, PCT’s (like nurse aides), food service, EVS (housekeeping), and others directly involved in covid related roles.

‘Able to make appointment in 5 minutes’

An ICU nurse in Illinois answered our questions:

Did you think you were in line and then find out you weren’t?

“I always knew I’d be in line for a vaccine. We are a small hospital so word started traveling quickly about the vaccine. We got an email when we were eligible to sign up for it, and I was able to make my appointment within 5 minutes.”

Did a non-front-line person get in line in front of you? Or did your hospital/place of work do a great job?

“I may be biased, but I think my hospital did great. Nurses, techs, doctors, food line, and housekeeping should have been first in my opinion, and we all were (equally).”

A Minnesota internist wrote: “I’ve been reasonably happy with our roll out in Minnesota. Not perfect, but ok. I’m a hospital-based internist and palliative care doc. I could have received the vaccine already. I’m waiting a little bit because of a unique chronic health condition and immunosuppression. I receive monthly IVIG and wanted to get a little further out from my last dose. I’m aware of our rollout plan, and it seems sound. I think it has appropriately focused on frontline healthcare workers. I’m not aware of anyone in hospital or health plan leadership who received it before frontline healthcare workers. And I DO have my first shot scheduled for 1/4.”

Mom, dad, daughter all got first doses

A North Carolina pediatrician wrote:

“So myself (58 years old with no chronic medical problems), my wife (59 years old and 13 years post-kidney transplant, hypothyroidism, hypertension) and our daughter (28 years old with asthma and seasonal allergies) were all able to get the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week. We all work in health care and have been anxiously waiting for this time to come. So far only side effect for all of us has been soreness at the injection site that was easily relieved with acetaminophen. I sincerely hope that most people have the same experience when they are able to get it and that enough people have received one of the vaccines by next Fall to allow some return to normalcy. I look forward to the day where it is safe to go to a bar and watch soccer again (and people who have lost their jobs can work again and colleges can have in person classes and and and . . .)

“I am a Pediatrician in Durham, NC, my wife is a physical therapist that works with lung transplant patients in Durham, NC and my daughter is an Internal Medicine resident at Duke Univ in Durham, NC.”