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Cleveland Hospitals Begin Second Wave Of COVID-19 Vaccines

MetroHealth and other Cleveland hospitals will began administering the second dose of vaccines this week. MetroHealth gave the first shots to healthcare workers on Dec. 16, 2020. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]
MetroHealth began administering vaccines on Dec. 16. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]

Several Cleveland-area hospitals will begin giving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to health care and other frontline workers this week.

MetroHealth started administering the second and final doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers Tuesday. MetroHealth began administering the first dose of the vaccine to frontline workers on Dec. 16, 2020.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the vaccine provides strong protection against COVID-19 within about 10 days of the first dose. But it was more effective in clinical trials, around 95 percent, after the second dose was administered 21 days later, according to Pfizer. 

MetroHealth has enough of the Pfizer vaccine to give a shot to every healthcare and frontline worker who received the first round of the vaccine three weeks ago, said Dr. Brook Watts, MetroHealth vice president and chief quality officer.

There are complex logistics involved in the COVID vaccination process, she said.

“Making sure we have people on the right timeline to get their second dose of the proper vaccine at the proper time requires really careful monitoring,” Watts said.   

Many hospital officials say scheduling vaccine appointments is difficult because shipments are sporadic. MetroHealth has continued to receive small supplies of the vaccine, she said.

“We are still working, and I know the state is working hard, to get us all a better sense of what exactly that supply chain looks like,” Watts said.

“They’re still, I think, working out some of the communication challenges around letting us know when to expect things so that we can plan accordingly.”

There are two brands of vaccines currently approved by the FDA for use in the United States: Pfizer and Moderna. People have to get the second dose from the same brand.

The United Kingdom recently announced it will only giving out one dose of the vaccine, to stretch it out and give more people partial protection. But right now, MetroHealth is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and giving two doses.

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158