COVID-19 vaccines coming to Great Plains Health

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 6:39 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Two new COVID-19 vaccines are having their final FDA review for emergency use. Vaccine manufacturer Pfizer is waiting for approval on Dec. 10 and vaccine manufacturer Moderna around a week later.

Great Plains Health has now purchased and received an Ultra Low Freezer that will be bale to maintain the cold storage conditions for the vaccine. Great Plains Health’s first subject for vaccination will be front line workers and next will be high risk patients such as the elderly. Pharmacy Director at Great Plains Health, Jason North, says this vaccine has a 95 percent effectiveness in protection against Coronavirus exposure and that it has been made differently from other vaccines in the past.

“There is no virus being injected into the patient; there is no virus contained in this vaccine. It’s strictly a small protein structure; a recipe that teaches your body how to make the antibodies to make the virus,” said North.

North discussed the science behind the vaccine. Scientists studied the virus’s DNA strand as a template to produce what is called Messenger RNA. This is designed to block what is called a Spike Protein so it cannot attach to the body.

“Once we’ve blocked with the antibody, it cannot attach to the lung tissue now and so what we have done is provide a rapid recipe through the vaccine so the patient can produce those antibodies and block the effect of the virus,” said North.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine both require two vaccines within a 3-week period. The vaccine must be taken in two doses to achieve that 95 percent effectiveness rate. North said he is looking forward to the progress this will bring to helping end this pandemic.

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