UCHealth ER doctor gets COVID-19 vaccine, explains process

Posted at 11:07 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 13:28:59-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — It's been a couple of days since UCHealth received the first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines and on Wednesday morning, UCHealth's Chief Medical Officer and ER doctor David Steinbruner got his own vaccination.

"This is pretty historic," Steinbruner said as he got his vaccination live on our air. "We've been working so hard for people for so long to try and get them better that it's really an important step that we take right now. So, this vaccine isn't just for me, it's for all of us," he added.

Before the vaccination, Steinbruner answered some screening questions, which ensure the patient will not have an allergic reaction.

Afterwards, he waited for a 15 minute mandatory observation period. He said the most important thing doctors look out for are adverse responses, like anaphylaxis. Steinbruner also pointed out they have not seen any reactions like this their patients so far, and in general those reactions are proving to be rare.

More than 200 people have been vaccinated so far, and UCHealth expexts more than 400 additional patients will be vaccinated on Wednesday.

RELATED: UC Health Memorial frontline workers get first COVID-19 doses

These vaccines take extra planning to distribute because they must be stored at -80 degrees Farenheit.

Then, the doses must be thawed before they are used and they must be cold until just before it is given to the patient.

Each vile contains multiple doses which is diluted in sodium chloride (saline solution).

"To ensure that we don't waste any doses, you have to really make sure that the timing is right with when you're diluting it and pulling the doses out," said Chris Martin, a pharmacy manager with UCHealth.

The Pfizer COVID vaccine is a two-dose series, which isn't too unique in itself. However, the time period of 21 days between doses is unique.

Basically, the first dose gets your immune system primed and the second one is a booster that initiates stronger response from immune system and solidifies your immunity.