By Jeff Todd

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Plans are finalizing as hospitals prepare to vaccinate front-line workers against coronavirus within the next few days.

(credit: CBS)

“Each hospital is developing their own plan, their own tier system following some very strong guidelines,” said HealthONE Vice President of Pharmacy Thomas Branigan. “Over the course of the next week we’ll know exactly which employees are going to be at the highest risk of exposure.”

Branigan is working with all 8 HealthONE hospitals in Colorado. Many different departments are working together like taking deep freezers from labs and other areas and preparing them to hold the vaccine at the pharmacy, once it arrives.

There are some final questions that will need to be answered.

“How are we going to store it? Where are we going to receive it? What kind of security we’re going to have? We don’t know if that will be 500, 1,000, 25 (doses), We don’t know exact numbers,” Branigan said.

(credit: CBS)

The first tier of workers to get the vaccine will be emergency department physicians and nurses, as well as those working in intensive care units and COVID units. But exactly how much of the staff can be immediately vaccinated isn’t known.

“We do mass vaccination for flu vaccine, so we have a process already built in to all our hospitals. Except this time, we have to be selective of who gets it first. Eventually they’ll all get it, but who gets it first,” Branigan said. “This is going to be a process that will take several months to get health care workers vaccinated.”

The plans being developed are for very few patients and a majority of the staff. The general public will not get vaccinated at area hospitals.

(credit: CBS)

A lot will be determined in the next 10 days, but it’s a glimmer of hope for frontline workers that have been in a nine-month battle.

“It’s actually exciting stuff, to be honest with you, versus what we’ve been dealing with for nine months this is actually exciting because we can see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Branigan said.

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Jeff Todd