UW chosen as distribution hub for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

    Vaccine vials at UW
    Madison has been selected as the hub for regional vaccine distribution. (Photo of by John Maniaci, UW Health).

    UW Health will be a regional distribution hub for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, it was announced today. The integrated health system of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has 80 outpatient sites throughout Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.

    “These vaccines will be going to front-line healthcare workers first, and there are still uncertainties around the quantities we’ll get and the timing of their arrival,” announced Matt Anderson, the organization’s senior medical director for ambulatory operations. “The public must remain diligent, as [the medication] will not be widely available anytime soon.”

    Federal approval of the drug for emergency use is anticipated as soon as today. Moderna, Inc., also has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use of its vaccine. While all vaccines require careful storage, Pfizer’s must be stored colder than -94 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, the Department of Health Services has implemented a hub-and-spoke model for distribution. 

    UW Health will serve as a central storage facility for the region’s supply of vaccine. Partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, it will distribute the drug to health systems and long-term care facilities in the region.

    UW Health annually serves more than 600,000 patients from the Upper Midwest and elsewhere. It has around 1,750 physicians and 21,000 staff at seven hospitals, including SwedishAmerican Hospital and Belvidere Medical Center, both in Illinois.

    Besides The Wisconsin Examiner, writer-cartoonist Jay Rath has contributed to Animato!, Cartoonist PROfiles and Nemo: The Classic Comics Library magazines. An early and longtime contributor to The Onion, for more than 20 years he taught cartooning and animation to young people through the University of Wisconsin School of Education-Extension.