Nursing in the coming months. Time to get educated on those vaccines.
This month may be the peak of stress for our healthcare system and nurses are no exception. What we are experiencing is a simultaneous surge in hospital patients sick with the coronavirus, along with major hopes on a quickly distributed vaccine. Medical centers are being challenged to the breaking point. Nurses are increasingly getting sick across the national. There is too much stress on the medical system. There has even been a dire warning from the CDC. On a much more positive note, we are getting a vaccine in the coming days and months with full availability coming by the end of January 2021.
Aligning with the world health guidelines the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13-1 on Dec 1,2020 to administer the Covid 19 vaccine to nursing homes and frontline health care workers. The CDC has voted to prioritize both populations equally. On Dec 10 the FDA approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine. There are 21 million healthcare personnel in the U.S. and 3 million residents of nursing homes. Operation Warp Speed, a $10 billion public and private partnership hopes to have 40 million shots ready for 20 million US citizens before the end of the year. Further, CDC officials are saying 5 to 10 million doses of the vaccines will be available per week in 2021.
The vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are 95% and 94.1% effective, respectively. The vaccine requires two shots spaced weeks apart. Healthcare workers may get the vaccine in a staggered timeline at their workplace due to some possible side effects such as nausea. In addition, there is some concern whether pregnant women should get the vaccine. Healthcare workers should start receiving the vaccine as early as Dec. 21, 2020.
On another note, Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees celsius, which requires special equipment not available in small hospitals, clinics or doctor’s offices. Moderna’s vaccine needs long-term storage at minus 20 degrees celsius. According to a recent Forbes article, the vaccine will cost $39 per patient for two doses. This cost is in line with a flu vaccine.
If you are in nursing and looking for employment through a staffing agency it may ease your mind that a vaccine is on the way. In New Jersey, State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli recently said that the shortage should be over by the end of January. After that the New Jersey should receive 1.1 million doses monthly. By April or early May, there should be sufficient supply “to meet the overall general population demand”, Persichilli.
As of Dec 11, 2020 the U.S. has reported 15,851,901 total cases of coronavirus, and 297,243 deaths with averages reaching more than 200,000 cases per day. We are all hoping to get a handle on this virus and get back to a normal life.