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Northwest Florida Community Hospital is waiting on COVID-19 vaccine arrival

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 8:21 PM CST
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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Rural hospitals play an important role in many communities, because for some, it’s the only place to receive health care.

“Traditionally, in the rural hospitals, we have an underserved population,” said Director of Pharmacy at Northwest Florida Community Hospital David Eaton.

Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Chipley is waiting on the Moderna vaccine. It will be one of the first rural hospitals in the area to receive it.

“Northwest Community Hospital has been extremely progressive through this whole aspect,” said CEO of Northwest Florida Community Hospital Michael Kozar.

Although the hospital is expecting the Moderna vaccine, it’s also one of the only rural hospitals with the cooling capabilities to handle the Pfizer vaccine.

“We still could get Pfizer vaccine here because we’re on the list of hospitals that have the capabilities of the storage,” said Kozar. “I don’t think there’s another hospital our size that has a -80 degrees freezer that can handle the vaccine.”

Health officials say the vaccines are the best chance of getting life back to normal.

“The benefits outweigh the risk,” said Eaton. “Clearly, that’s the one thing, that’s what the FDA looks at too, is that those benefits outweigh the risks.”

Hospital officials are excited and ready to distribute the vaccine when it arrives.

“To have a tool that’s going to enable us to stop the spread, stop the hospitalizations, and ultimately stop the deaths that are associated with this pandemic,” said Kozar. “It is exciting to be able to do that.”

The vaccine is expected to arrive sometime this week.

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