- Vanessa Wasta
- Office phone
Johns Hopkins Medicine received the initial doses of the recently authorized Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday, and vaccination will begin Wednesday for high-risk health care personnel.
Although Medicine leaders say they are confident that Johns Hopkins will receive frequent shipments of vaccine, initial supplies are expected to be limited. Until adequate supply is received, the vaccine will be offered to members of the Johns Hopkins medical community according to a prioritization plan based on criteria developed by the National Academy of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the state of Maryland. Among the first to receive the vaccine are clinical and non-clinical staff who, by the nature of their work, are at a higher risk for COVID-19 exposure. Of that pool of candidates, a random selection process will determine who receives the vaccine and in what order. The vaccine will not be mandatory.
The vaccine is expected to help curb the U.S. spread of COVID-19, which has infected 16.5 million Americans and killed more than 300,000.
Johns Hopkins Medicine leaders say facilities are fully prepared to receive and appropriately store, distribute, and administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is an mRNA vaccine and must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower.
Although the vaccine cleared certain safety and efficacy standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is unclear if it prevents vaccinated individuals from carrying the virus and passing it along to others. Medicine leaders urge the vaccinated community to continue practicing proven public health measures to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, frequently washing hands, and maintaining more than 6 feet of distance from others.
The vaccine development, trial, and review process, spearheaded at the federal level by Operation Warp Speed, represents the fastest vaccine creation in history. The FDA is meeting Thursday to review an application for emergency use authorization of another mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna.