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Hawaii DOH places its first order for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 7:22 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 7:23 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Department of Health filed a prepositioning order for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

State health officials say the order was for 4,875 doses, and is only a small percentage of the total number of vaccines the state expects to later request if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives the vaccine its stamp of approval.

“This prepositioning order gives Hawai’i the opportunity to test the shipping and handling of this precious cargo. We do not expect shipment of the prepositioning order until after the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine,” a DOH spokesperson said.

In clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine was proven to be 95% effective.

“We have a light at the end of the tunnel, but we will not all have the vaccine in our arms before May or June, so we need to be very cautious and vigilant,” Moncef Slaoui, Chief Adviser of Operation Warp Speed, said.

Hospitals in the islands have been busy preparing for the arrival of the vaccines, running delivery drills to ensure proper storing and delivery capabilities are in place.

[Read more: With a mock delivery, Hawaii hospitals gear up for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines]

“Additional vaccine orders will be placed once the vaccines get FDA approval. Those orders are expected to arrive in the islands 48 to 72 hours after the orders are placed,” DOH added.

Nationally, officials say healthcare workers and nursing home residents are top priority for getting vaccinated. Officials say that same priority will be applied in the islands.

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