Top UW Health official says COVID-19 vaccine should be available for frontline workers before Christmas

Published: Dec. 6, 2020 at 10:27 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A COVID-19 vaccine should be available to Madison healthcare workers by Christmas, according to a top local healthcare official.

The Food and Drug Administration could give emergency use authorization to a COVID-19 vaccine as early as Thursday. Healthcare workers and residents of long term care facilities would likely get the first doses.

UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof said he believes there will be a quick turn around once there is authorization , and the hospital is already preparing for which healthcare workers will get vaccinated first once shipments come in.

“We have been working across our healthcare system to basically categorize all of our healthcare workers into different tiers to figure out if we get a limited supply, say 1,000 doses, 2,000 doses, whatever it is, how we use those first doses the most effectively even within our own infrastructure,” he said.

Pothof said he is hopeful the vaccine will be available to the rest of the public by late Spring of next year.

“We almost have to look at these vaccines as like strategic weapons that we don’t have very many of, and when we launch these weapons, we want them to have the biggest effect on the enemy as possible. That is why we are seeing health care workers first, nursing home residents right up there,” he said.

He said even after the first vaccinations are rolled out, it will still be important to continue wearing a mask and social distancing until people are immune.

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