A first look at Ohio’s initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan


CLEVELAND (WJW) — We are getting our first look at what Ohio’s initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution will look like.

Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine toured a distribution warehouse as Ohio prepares for its first shipment of vaccines in the coming weeks.

“I really wanted to get a full briefing and the only way you can really do that to understand it is to go and see,” said DeWine.

The governor said he expects Ohio to get its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine Dec. 15. Moderna’s vaccine is expected days later.

“A majority of it will be shipped directly to hospitals, directly to local health departments, pharmacies, and others,” said DeWine.

But until that happens, the ODH has been running daily drills at the warehouse located in central Ohio. It is operated by the Ohio National Guard and houses ultra cold freezers that can hold up to 720,000 doses, each.

“Because Pfizer ships in 975 doses at a time, it will have to be broken down. This is where they will come to do that,” said DeWine.

When vaccines are ready to be shipped out, the box must be removed from the ultracold freezers and repackaged with dry ice within two minutes. Then, the package must be delivered to providers within six hours.

“To see the National Guard members who have been practicing, to see how they make the transfer, they have a clock on the wall. They have it timed. They know what the limitations are,” said DeWine.

The vaccine will remain good, if sealed in the original shipping container from the warehouse, for up to five days.

“With all the moving parts, there will be some glitches,” DeWine said. “There are some that occur. But I have confidence in the National Guard and what they are doing here to divide this up.”

According to the state, they don’t plan to use the warehouse to redistribute Moderna’s vaccine because it will be shipped directly to health care providers.

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