More than a month into the COVID-19 vaccination process, it can still be confusing to many people.
One of the confusions is the two vaccines — Pfizer and Moderna. People have little to no choice in which one they get, but there is some logic to it.
Something as simple as logistics could determine which vaccine – Moderna or Pfizer – you receive.
Pfizer has ultra-cold storage requirements. Moderna can be stored in normal freezers.
All of the Georgia Department of Public Health vaccines in Columbus are Moderna. Piedmont Columbus Regional has been giving the Pfizer shots, says Katie Logan, the Piedmont Chief Consumer Strategy Officer overseeing the vaccine program.
“We have made the decision to keep Pfizer going to Columbus for that market,” Logan said. “They have the ultra-cold freezer on site. And we can manage it for the Columbus community.”
Piedmont has 11 hospitals in Georgia, only four are administering exclusively Pfizer. Piedmont is currently giving the shots by appointment only to staff and patients who meet the state criteria.
“It’s a daily dance and maneuver, but we are seeing some success in meeting our patients and the communities we serve,” Logan said.
And once the Pfizer vaccine is removed from the special freezer, the clock starts.
“You have five days to use it once it’s out of ultra-cold,” Logan said. “With Moderna, you have 30 days to use it once it’s at a refrigerated temperature.”
Having the ability to manage the Pfizer vaccine is a plus for Piedmont Columbus Regional.
“When you have that ultracold freezer, it just gives you more flexibility than other sites that don’t have it.”