Temple Health to begin COVID-19 vaccine distribution Wednesday

Those working in close proximity to COVID-19 patients or in departments with high positivity rates will be given first priority.

Temple University Health System will begin to administer COVID-19 vaccines to approximately 3,000 healthcare workers on Dec. 16. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / FILE

Temple University Health System will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers on Wednesday as the first doses from pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech, which received emergency use authorization from the United States Food and Drug Administration last week, are distributed to Philadelphia-area hospitals.

The vaccine will first be given to approximately 3,000 employees in close contact with COVID-19 patients and those who work in departments with higher-than-average positivity rates, according to an information sheet sent to eligible TUHS employees on Thursday. 

It is unclear how many workers will be vaccinated each day. All available spots for vaccination on the first day at Temple University Hospital’s Main Campus have been filled, wrote Jeremy Walter, a spokesperson for TUHS, in an email to The Temple News.

A small number of Philadelphia hospitals will receive vaccine shipments this week before it is distributed to every hospital in the city, NBC10 reported. Pfizer’s vaccine has been shown to be 95 percent effective against COVID-19 beginning 28 days after the first dose, according to a release from the company.

Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines nationwide, CNN reported.

While TUHS is not mandating its employees to be vaccinated, it is encouraging those who are eligible, even those who have recovered from COVID-19, to receive it, according to the information sheet. Employees are asked to schedule their vaccinations a day before a regularly scheduled day off due to the possibility of experiencing side effects from the vaccine.

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