Lowcountry health facilities prepare to receive doses of Moderna vaccine

VIDEO: Lowcountry health facilities prepare to receive doses of Moderna vaccine

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Medical facilities in South Carolina and across the nation are preparing to receive doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the second to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA authorized an emergency rollout of the vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health.

The vaccine is very similar to one from Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech that’s now being dispensed to millions of health care workers and nursing home residents as the biggest vaccination drive in U.S. history starts to ramp up.

The two work “better than we almost dared to hope,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told The Associated Press. “Science is working here, science has done something amazing.”

Roper St. Francis Healthcare President and CEO Dr. Jeff DiLisi released the following statement Friday night:

This past week has been a time of celebration and hope at Roper St. Francis Healthcare as many of our frontline teammates and physicians have received the potentially life-saving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. I’m inspired by and proud of the caregivers who have been vaccinated thus far, and I look forward to the time when we have enough vaccine to share with the rest of our healthcare system, patients and Lowcountry residents. Tonight, we celebrate once again after the federal Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Moderna vaccine. Until we all have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, I’m encouraging my loved ones, friends and the entire community to stay vigilant this winter by wearing a mask, social distancing, cleaning hands and sanitizing surfaces. And when the time comes, please consider getting vaccinated. Together, we can defeat COVID-19.

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Center in Charleston said they were expecting to receive the Moderna vaccine.

Chief Consultant for Preventive Medicine Dr. Jane Kim says many hospitals have been waiting on the Moderna vaccine because they don’t necessarily have the cold storage needed for the Pfizer vaccine.

Kim said today she expects the VA to have millions of doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as we get into next year. Kim stressed that any veteran who wants it will eventually be able to get the vaccine.

“Our ultimate desire and goal is to offer the COVID vaccine to every veteran that would like to get vaccinated when there is ample supply,” Kim said. “That should happen sometime in 2021.”

In their plan detailing the order for vaccinations, the VA says residents and staff in community living centers will continue to be among the first vaccinated.

The plan will then shift to VA employees who treat COVID patients.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.