COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Hospitals in central Ohio are getting ready to take another important step in the fight against COVID-19 as the time approaches to begin administering second doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is scheduled to start those important second doses this Tuesday.
The Pfizer vaccine which OSU Wexner staff received requires three weeks between doses, and this week will mark that third week.
The OSU Wexner associated director of pharmacy said since those first Pfizer doses were given out in mid-December, there has been a sense of optimism among employees at the medical center.
Dr. Crystal Tubbs said 1,000 OSU Wexner Medical Center workers received the first dose of the vaccine and all of them are expected to have received their second dose by the end of this week.
Tubbs is remind people that the second dose is so important because the 95 percent efficacy rate comes only after getting the second shot.
“It’s certainly one of the only proactive things we’ve been able to do,” Tubbs said. “I think up until this time, we’ve really been in a reactive mode where we’re obviously trying to do things to slow down the spread of COVID, but also to take care of those patients with COVID. But now we really have a tool to help prevent the spread of COVID.”
Tubbs has been helping lead the vaccination efforts at the Wexner center.
“For them, it’s that very next step in moving towards herd immunity,” she said. “Obviously, our employees are part of the global herd and so the more folks we vaccinate, the closer we become to her immunity and theoretically, the close we become to having COVID be a hindsight.”
As part of how the immune system works, Tubbs expects a higher incidence of side effects to the second shot, like injection site soreness, headache, some tiredness, and in a small number of people, a low fever.
“All of those things, we are considering very normal and, quite frankly, are signs and symptoms that your immune system is effectively working to create those antibodies against the COVID virus,” she said.
OhioHealth is also planning to begin administering second doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, with a plan to start on Wednesday.