Valley Health preps for arrival of first vaccine

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~ Press release issued by Valley Health

WINCHESTER, Dec. 10Valley Health anticipates the arrival of an initial shipment of COVID-19 vaccine in the next two weeks. The good news comes as cases continue to spike in the region, creating greater demand for beds and staff to care for patients hospitalized with the virus.

“While we are far from the end of this pandemic, the delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine signifies an important milestone in stopping the spread of the virus both in our community and nationally,” said Valley Health President and CEO Mark Nantz. “As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Valley Health has been participating in vaccine planning for several months. This vaccine will help protect our workforce and promises to be a game changer in the global effort to contain this virus.”

Valley Health will follow guidance from the Virginia and West Virginia health departments and hospital associations, which gives priority to vaccinating front-line caregivers most at-risk of contracting COVID-19.

“Distribution of an effective vaccine is an important leap forward, but it’s not feasible to vaccinate the entire community right away,” said Valley Health Chief Medical Officer Iyad Sabbagh, MD. “Our priority is protecting our front-line caregivers so that we can continue to care for the community. We must do all we can to safeguard our physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, environmental services staff and others who have contact with infected patients.”

“Valley Health has applied to be a vaccine distributor in Virginia and West Virginia, and hopes to begin offering vaccine to long term care residents and the community once we receive additional shipments in the coming weeks and months,” Sabbagh continued.

Valley Health clinical leaders express confidence in the safety and efficacy of the available vaccines. More than 100,000 people have been involved in the clinical trials leading to the approval of the two leading coronavirus vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, Sabbagh explained.

“The vaccines have gone through the same three-phase approval process as any other medicine or treatment in the U.S., with just one exception: the Phase III period was shortened from 12-18 months to 3-4 months. We don’t have longer-range safety data yet, but results have shown no serious side effects, just temporary arm soreness or mild fever. And both vaccines reduce the chances of getting COVID by 90 to 95 percent, which is very effective compared to many vaccines in common use for other illnesses.”



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