KRH Chief Medical Officer discusses COVID-19 vaccinations

Posted at 4:04 PM, Dec 22, 2020

KALISPELL — Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) officials are calling last week’s first round of COVID-19 vaccine distribution for frontline health care workers a major success.

“We ended up giving a total of 1,170 doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine,” KRH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Doug Nelson said.

He says last week’s first round of vaccinations at KRH went as smoothly as possible.

The vaccines were distributed to health care workers over a two-day period with electronic scheduling to avoid crowded spaces.

Dr. Nelson says the hospital actually received more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than originally expected.

“We were scheduled to get 975 doses, five doses per vile, and it turns out that each vile really has six doses in it, so we used the extra and gave those vaccinations,” Dr. Nelson said.

“And the FDA actually said it’s okay to do that so we feel like we got a little bonus there in terms of being able to immunize people," he added.

Dr. Nelson says the next shipment of vaccine is expected to arrive at the hospital later this week.

He says the second shipment will be the Moderna vaccine and will most likely be distributed to essential workers the week after Christmas.

“Policeman, fireman, teachers, etcetera -- not direct health care workers, but people that are essential personnel for keeping our society up and running,” Dr. Nelson said.

While the first distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Flathead County is promising, Dr. Nelson is warning that citizens must continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines to help protect one another.

“We’re not out of this yet, we got some hope, but we’re not there yet and so keep doing the things that we know help prevent the spread of the virus,” Dr. Nelson said.

Dr. Nelson told MTN News that no serious side effects were reported for anyone who received the first shipment of vaccine at Kalispell Regional Healthcare.

All of the health care workers who received the vaccine at KRH were observed for 15 minutes following the vaccinations.