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Vaccines coming to GCD area

With the approval of federal health care authorities for two vaccines, some local frontline workers were inoculated against the virus that causes COVID-19 this week, and more will be early next week, along with local long-term care patients.

Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ryan Fish took the needle in his arm Friday in Moses Lake.

He said Tuesday he has felt no effects from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivered through Grant County Health District to Samaritan Hospital, where Fish got the shot.

Fish said Grand Coulee police and ambulance personnel were also getting the first shot. A follow-up dose must be delivered in 21 days.

Coulee Medical Center is getting ready to receive its share of the second vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frontline personnel there were to hear about the Moderna vaccine due to begin arriving at CMC within days, Chief Executive Officer Ramona Hicks said Tuesday. She said they expect it to arrive within days and will get 1,000 doses.

The Moderna vaccine doesn't have to be kept quite as cold in storage as the Pfizer-BioNTech brand. Moderna's must be stored at between -13°F and 5°F. That makes it a better fit for rural areas that don't have "ultra-cold" freezers. The Pfizer-BioNTech shot must be stored at temperatures from -112°F to -76°F.

Hicks said CMC is planning to hold a vaccine clinic for its frontline workers (anyone who faces patients) and long-term care residents next Tuesday.

With its staff currently stretched thin, CMC has enlisted the help of an outside firm to administer the first vaccinations to staff next week.

The Moderna vaccine requires a follow-up dose in 28 days.

Both vaccines have been approved not only by the FDA and CDC but also by the independent Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup formed by Washington, California, Oregon and Nevada, to review data and analysis to ensure their safety.


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