TONASKET — North Valley Extended Care awaits shipments of the PFizer COVID-19 vaccine and are among the first to receive them.
“We are thinking the vaccine will arrive any day now, but we don’t have an ETA,” said North Valley Hospital District CEO John McReynolds.
The hospital will receive 975 doses of the long awaited Pfizer vaccine.
“As we use those we will have the ability to reorder based on the available supply,” said McReynolds.
The vaccine comes following the facility dealing with an outbreak among residents and staff alike. Sadly, the facility has had 15 resident deaths attributed to COVID-19.
McReynolds said the cold chain temperature requirements for the vaccine are complex and create challenges for transporting the vaccine. NVH purchased an ultracold freezer a few months ago to be able to store the vaccine at -80 C.
“Once we receive the vaccine we will be able to immunize anyone in Phase 1A which includes healthcare workers, EMS, or nursing home residents. We are working with a task force to ensure we can roll out the vaccine to all of the Phase 1A people regardless of where they work, although at least at the beginning they would need to travel to Tonasket,” said McReynolds.
According to McReynolds, there is an ongoing effort to transfer vaccines to Ferry County in order to support that area and the extended care beds and assisted living facilities in Republic.
“Many of the nursing homes in the area are receiving vaccines through a Pharmacy Partnership Program which will send a delegate to each location and bring the vaccine with them,” said McReynolds.
McReynolds said the Extended Care is doing better and is just exiting what the CDC defines as an active outbreak.
“We still have multiple residents that continue to struggle with symptoms, but more and more are exiting their quarantine and are able to start to get back to something closer to normal. We will be continuing our frequent testing and mitigation strategies, but we are very excited to have vaccines available shortly,” said McReynolds.