LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The FDA could approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, and it could be given to Kentuckians soon.
Kentucky state leaders say of the first round of vaccines, two-thirds will go to long-term care facilities and the other third will be divided among 11 hospitals. UofL Health is expecting to get 975 doses. The hospital says it is ready to start administering the vaccine as early as next Tuesday.
"We are going to be deploying it in our emergency room departments. Our respiratory therapy and our ICU areas first, as well as our units on the floor that are taking care of the most COVID patients," Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health, said.
Dr. Smith said he has read over the FDA's preliminary findings of the Pfizer vaccine.
"This is the first time as a medical community, we've got the ability to impact the course of this virus," he said.
Smith said after looking at the data himself, it appears the vaccine is safe and effective.
"The highest types of, we'll call them complications, from this vaccine was very very low ... 0.05%," he said.
However, he also said there have been some adverse effects.
"About 42% of people who got this vaccine reported something like arm soreness. They might have felt a little fatigue. They might feel fever," Smith said.
Smith said UofL Health is prepared with the ultra-cold freezers needed to store the temperature sensitive vaccine, and has been training on how to handle and administer it.
"We've been working on a couple different, what we'll call, table top exercises. So one is the logistics around receiving the vaccine," he said.
Another thing UofL Health will have to do is follow up with those who get their first shot. The Pfizer vaccine requires another one 21 days after the initial dose.
Some people are also asking whether kids and pregnant women should get the vaccine.
"There is not enough information that they have to make a recommendation regarding safety and pregnancy," Smith said. "In fact in the phase 1, 2 and 3 trial, if a woman came in and was pregnant, they did a test for that. She was excluded from the vaccine trial."
The vaccine is recommended for people ages 16 and older. Smith says a recommendation has not been handed down for younger children yet.
UofL Health said it is encouraging its employees to get the vaccine, but it is voluntary.
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