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.