Cautious optimism as New Castle County hospital may play role in distribution of COVID vaccine

A COVID-19 vaccine for the masses may soon be on the horizon. And, those first to receive it will be frontline healthcare workers and nursing home patients.

“I think it’s awesome, I think it’s amazing. I think it’s what needs to be done,” stated a resident.

Tuesday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13 to one that healthcare workers and nursing home residents should be first in line for that vaccine.

“This is good news, yes, finally! It’s quick, too. I didn’t think I’d be hearing anything positive for a while,” exclaimed the resident.

ChristianaCare will be storing the vaccine when it’s approved in special freezers that keep the temperature of the vaccine at minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.


Dr. Marci Drees is the Chief Infection Prevention Officer at ChristianaCare. She lays out how the vaccine is made.

“MRNA vaccines literally are a lipid or fat coating with a little piece of genetic material in there. That just helps them get into the cells. Then your own cells machinery makes that spike protein is what generates an immune response,” Dr. Drees explained.

Dr. Drees also wants to stress one potential misnomer regarding the vaccines in trial.

“It’s important to know none of these vaccines contain COVID. You cannot get the disease from the vaccines cause all it contains – they’ll focus on that one piece of that spike protein which is just enough to generate an immune response,” Dr. Drees stated.

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In eight days, the Federal Drug Administration is scheduled to meet to consider Pfizer’s emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for mass use, which it says is 90 percent effective in preliminary trials.

Dr. Drees adds the speed in which these vaccines reached this stage is remarkable, but not unexpected, especially compared to a flu vaccine.

“If you think about a flu vaccine, you have to identify the strain, you have to grow it in eggs, there’s many processes to purify. For an MRNA vaccine all they need is the genetic code which was identified days after SARS COVI-2 was discovered,” Dr. Drees added.

Many are cautiously optimistic this will be a significant step toward getting back to life, pre-pandemic.

“We’re hoping that the vaccine is on the right direction. I believe it is. I’m praying for it,” Kenny Smith commented.



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