MEDFORD, Ore-- Late yesterday afternoon, the Oregon Health Authority informed Valley Immediate Care that it had been approved to become a Covid-19 vaccine provider. The company announced the big news today. Once the company receives shipments of the vaccine, they will be able to start administering the vaccine to people across the Rogue Valley.
"We have always kind of been dealing with pandemics, ever since I've been here," said the CEO of Valley Immediate Care Brent Kell. "That's kind of our gig and what Valley Immediate Care has always been."
According to Kell, all of their urgent care facilities have to decided to administer Moderna's coronavirus vaccine instead of Pfizer's — with the latter vaccine more difficult to keep safe and stable under the right conditions.
"I think its much more problematic to store than Moderna's vaccine," said Kell. "
According to Moderna, one of their vaccines can last up to 30 days while being refrigerated. Compare that to Pfizer's vaccine, which can only last up to five days once it has been unfrozen and put into a similar unit. Recommended storage temperature conditions for Pfizer's vaccine must also be kept at a much lower temperature of -70°C, while Moderna's needs to stay around -20°C.
Although Valley Immediate Care has made the necessary preparations to keep their vaccines stable and safe, they are still worried about running the risk of losing doses if people make last second cancellations.
"Once you puncture a vial you have six hours to use that vial," said Kell. "So we are really trying to use our online check-in system to gauge how many people we are going to vaccinate. We don't want to open up a vial and waste a vaccine., so that six hour window is somewhat troublesome for us."
However, Kell and the company are taking necessary steps to be able to find a new arm to put the vaccine into, in case those last second cancellations pop up.
"We've got a pretty good plan in which we will use our online queue system for vaccinations," said Kell. "What we would like to do is create a back-up list, so that at the end of the day we can call those people and make sure those vaccines don't go to waste."
As of today, the company has not received any details on how many doses they will be receiving of Moderna's vaccine, but the company is excited to help get Jackson County and the rest of the Rogue Valley back to normal.
"The more the merrier," said Kell about helping with administering the vaccine. "I think the more people involved, the better. We've been fighting and fighting and fighting and had bad news after bad news. But we've got good news out here finally and it feels really good."