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Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday they have developed a COVID-19 vaccine, which may be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. They, and other researchers around the world, are scrambling to get something released that will slow or stop a virus that has claimed nearly 240,000 American lives.

Pfizer said in a press release, they expect to be ready to submit for Emergency Use Authorization to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the third week of November.

Exactly when a vaccine is ready or where it will come from is unknown but Geary Community Hospital plans to be ready when it does become available.

“We’re still in the dark on (when),” said Frank Corcoran, chief executive officer. “We don’t know when a vaccine will be ready, and which one will be there, and what type it would be — we don’t know those things. What we're preparing for is when a vaccine is available, that we're able to vaccinate people in the community.”

Hospital staff are working with Konza Prairie Community Health Center staff to have the equipment and protocol in place so there is little to no delay, he said.

Vaccines require specific temperatures for storage. Cochran said they have ordered a freezer, which they expect to be able to meet that requirement, and portable coolers to take the vaccine of site, when the time comes. The units cost $970 each for a total of $2,910.

“Again, we don't know the details,” he said. “Once we get those, and we know more, and then know how much vaccines available and though what protocols are out there to who gets vaccinated first, then we'll know more.”

But he said he doesn’t GCH to wait until the vaccine is ready, and then scramble or postpone getting it to the community. All they know right now is that they would need a freezer and the portable units.

“We know we need those things so we can prepare ahead and then just wait on the rest to fall in place,” he said.

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