TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has released details of their storage and distribution plan for a COVID-19 vaccine, once one becomes available.
Two companies have announced preliminary results from their vaccine trials showing extremely high levels of efficacy.
Moderna said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from an ongoing study.
A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own vaccine looked 90% effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.
During a Zoom press conference Thursday morning, experts with the department said they believe they'll be able to hand out a vaccine much faster than originally thought.
Mercy Health has been chosen to store and distribute the vaccine once it's on the market.
"I'm very confident that we'll be able to get the vaccine out to those who need it the most, those who may not have access to it if it was a different setting, and then also being able to distribute and push it out to those people who may be on the fence of getting the vaccine," said Shannon Lands, Director of Health Promotion of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Dept.
The vaccines in Lucas County will first be available for first responders, nurses and the most vulnerable. Then the county will have close to 100,000 vaccines to give out to the general public.
They already have several locations for points of distribution and are lining up more.
"We have got to get people to make sure they want to receive the vaccine. If it was me and my family, I'd be the first in line, if I could be," said Dr. Eric Zgodzinski, Health Commissioner of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. "I believe in the process we have and the security and safety of the vaccine."
In the meantime, the department is still promoting for everyone to get their flu vaccine.
If the Food and Drug Administration allows emergency use of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s candidate, there will be limited, rationed supplies before the end of the year.
Exactly who is first in line has yet to be decided. But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the hope is that enough doses are available by the end of January to vaccinate adults over 65, who are at the highest risk from the coronavirus and health care workers.
Dr. Fauci said it may take until spring or summer before anyone who is not high risk and wants a shot can get one.