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Community Hospital In Munster Will Be Among First In Indiana To Get COVID-19 Vaccine For Healthcare Workers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on track for approval as early as next month, Community Hospital in Munster could be among the first hospitals in Indiana to distribute the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers.

The Indiana State Department of Health has identified five hospitals that will be the first to receive doses of the vaccine later this month, for distribution to healthcare workers once the treatment is approved:

  • Community Hospital in Munster
  • Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville
  • Deaconess in Evansville
  • Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis
  • Parkview Health in Ft. Wayne

The hospitals were chosen based on their ability to store Pfizer's vaccine, which must be stored at super subzero cold temperatures reaching -60° to -80° Celsius.

Pfizer said Monday that human trials suggest its coronavirus vaccine is 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in people not known to have had the virus already. The pharmaceutical giant said it would be applying for Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA as soon as final data meets safety milestones, which it expects to happen in the third week of November.

"These results are extremely encouraging," Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Office Dr. Lindsay Weaver said during Wednesday's weekly coronavirus briefing.

Weaver said approval of Moderna's vaccine also could come before end of year, but Indiana will not start distributing vaccines to anyone until they receive emergency use authorization from the FDA, a review from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and a review from Indiana's own external advisory committee.

Nearly 50 other hospitals in Indiana have informed the state they are able to help administer vaccines to their own staff, and other healthcare workers. Weaver said those hospitals will receive shipments of the vaccine once it has been cleared for use, according to Weaver.

The state also is working with CVS and Walgreens to immunize staff and residents at nursing homes when the time comes.

"We know that a widely available vaccine is still months away, but we are confident that starting with protecting our frontline healthcare workers and those at highest risk will help reduce the burden of COVID on Hoosiers," Weaver said.

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said shots will likely be available for most Americans who want it by April.

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