CINCINNATI — UC Health, Greater Cincinnati’s academic health system, received its scheduled shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations and began administering vaccines to its employees and physicians at UC Medical Center, West Chester Hospital and Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care today.
The Moderna vaccine shipment and dissemination follows the historic arrival of the Pfizer vaccine at UC Health last week. Both vaccines received “Emergency Use Authorization” from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that has significantly improved the timeline for vaccine distribution.
The Moderna shipment to UC Health this week includes 3,100 first doses of the vaccine. Shipment of the second Moderna doses is expected to arrive within the next couple of weeks.
Since June, clinicians at UC Health and the UC College of Medicine have been one of nearly 90 sites nationwide taking part of the Moderna Phase 3 vaccine trial for COVID-19, enrolling 185 participants from throughout our region. On Nov. 16, Moderna released data showing a 95% effectiveness rate among the 30,000 total Americans participating in the trial – a monumental achievement for the UC and UC Health team and the trial at large.
“Our receipt of the Moderna vaccine is especially meaningful for us at UC and UC Health as our researchers have led the way, working diligently for months to support the progress of the study of the safety and efficacy of this vaccine,” said Richard P. Lofgren, MD, president & CEO of UC Health. “For our physicians and staff, the Moderna vaccine holds much significance. Our team is extremely proud to see our efforts in the trial coming to fruition.”
Inoculation of frontline healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, technicians and other critically important support service staff will continue throughout this week. As supply increases, more employees and clinicians will be offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine. UC Health is committed to continuing to offer the vaccine, as long as there is supply, to every employee and physician that wants it.
The vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to stimulate an immune response against COVID-19. Unlike conventional vaccines, which often use a small amount of live virus or antigen to stimulate an immune response, mRNA vaccines communicate with the body’s cells in a way that directs the cell to produce proteins. The protein that is made is similar to one that is made by the virus during an infection. This allows the body’s immune system to be stimulated and respond in a way that is protective, without being exposed to the actual virus.
UC Health is one of the very first Moderna vaccine distribution sites identified by the Ohio Department of Health, and one of the few sites to receive initial shipments of both vaccine types in southwest Ohio. In upcoming weeks/months, UC Health expects to receive additional shipments of the vaccine to address larger numbers of its frontline healthcare workers.
While the arrival of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are signs of hope, officials at UC Health strongly urge consumers and patients to continue to follow the proper COVID-19 precautions, including wearing masks, practicing proper hand hygiene and following six-ft. social distancing.