Preparing Your Medical Clinic for On and Off-site Vaccinations
The best pharmaceutical measure to control and prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the vaccination of the global population. Consequently, most, if not all, of the world’s governments have prioritized the acquisition of enough vaccines to vaccinate everyone.
There are several challenges with this plan, including the acquisition of enough vaccines, the cost of these vaccines, and the cold chain processes required to keep the vaccines viable until it is time to be used. Most of the world’s governments are using the community healthcare model to vaccinate people living in their communities. For this model to be successful, community healthcare centers must set up medical clinics that will preserve the integrity of the vaccine by storing it at the right temperature, employing medical professionals who are qualified to administer the vaccines, and having enough space in the building to allow for social distancing as well as a place where people who have just had the vaccine can be monitored for any adverse side-effects before they leave.
A curved ball to the implementation of the community healthcare vaccination strategy is that there will be people who cannot travel to the clinics so the healthcare staff will have to travel to these individuals in order to vaccinate them. Therefore, the cold chain required to preserve the vaccines must include the capacity for on-site and off-site storage.
Consequently, it is essential to prepare your medical clinic to manage both the on-site and off-site vaccination strategies. In order to implement these strategies, it is imperative to have enough portable vaccine refrigerators and freezers to properly store and transport the vaccines with regulating their temperature.
Let’s continue this discussion by looking at a few tips to help you prepare your medical clinic to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to the local community.
- Sanitization equipment, PPE, and social distancing space
It is vital that there is enough sanitization equipment to deep clean and sanitize the clinic building as well as the mobile clinic after every person is vaccinated. It is also essential to make sure that the clinic’s waiting room is set out so that people are socially distanced from each other. Additionally, it is necessary to provide a space where people who have had the vaccine can rest or wait for 15 minutes or so before leaving. Thirdly, it is imperative to ensure that there is sufficient PPE for all staff, and possibly extra masks if individuals who have arrived to receive their vaccines are not wearing masks.
- Cold chain storage
This point has been highlighted more than once in this article. However, it is worth making special mention of it because it is integral to the successful vaccination process. For these vaccines to remain viable, they must be stored at specific temperatures. For instance, Pfizer’s vaccine must be kept at -94 degrees Fahrenheit. It is interesting to note that the average flu vaccine only has to be refrigerated between 35 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. In other words, it is a new type of vaccine that teaches human cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response in the body that produces antibodies against the novel coronavirus. This is why the refrigeration temperature is so much colder than other vaccinations.