Who In Wyoming is Likely to Get the First COVID-19 Vaccines?
An FDA panel will meet on Thursday (December 10) to consider authorizing a COVID-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The vaccine is expected to be approved.
On Monday, Wyoming Governor Mark Gorden told a Joint Appropriations Committee of the Wyoming legislature that 5000 doses of the vaccine could be in Wyoming shortly after the drug's approval.
To find out how these first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in Wyoming, we can look to the Wyoming Department of Health's (WDH) COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.
It is a phased plan. The first phase, aptly named Phase1a, focus on priority recipients. Healthcare professions are in this Phase, along with emergency personal. While no official statement has been made yet, the Health Department's plan notes that the doses for people in Phase1a will likely come from their place of employment, such as hospitals, or nursing homes.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Wyoming officials say that nursing home residents will also be part of Phase1a and that the process will require multiple shipments of the vaccine to cover Phase 1.
The CDC says that "[f]or most COVID-19 vaccine products, two doses of vaccine, separated by 21 or 28 days, will be needed." In Wyoming, this first shipment will go to as many different people as possible for a first dose, with the follow-up shot coming after later shipments become available.
Distribution of the vaccine, according to the WHD's Plan, will be done by approved providers who have applied with the department to do it. The Pfizer vaccine requires very cold storage, so approved places will need the necessary storage facilities.
Next will be Phase 1b, focusing on "critical populations may include people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including people with underlying medical conditions, people 65 years of age and older, and essential workers."
As more doses become available, Phase 2 will go into effect. The Vaccination Plan states that this Phase may include "...additional critical workers, people with underlying conditions, those in congregate settings, and people with limited access to vaccination services. As more vaccine doses are available later in Phase 2, the vaccine will be administered to all people that are recommended to receive the vaccine."
During Phase 3, vaccines will be available to all people who are recommended to be vaccinated, the Plan says.
USA Today reports that the US hopes to have 40 million doses of a vaccine ready to go by the end of the year. As more doses become available in Wyoming, look for official announcements from the Department of Health for more specific distribution information.
No matter what, the pandemic isn't over yet. It will likely take well into the spring of 2021 to get the shots into as many American arms as possible. So hunker down (again or some more) and maybe...hopefully...fingers crossed, we can start looking forward to doing stuff again next summer.
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