Pharmacists begin preparation of vaccines hours before clinic opens

A look at the behind the scenes of preparing the COVID-19 vaccine.
Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 8:24 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Southeast Health usually prepares between 200 to 250 vaccines a day, but this week as one of the state’s mass vaccine clinics they tripling those numbers.

“We have one point eight of saline that we draw from a two-mil saline vial, once that is there, we inject it into the vaccine vial,” Jennifer Goff, pharmacy tech, said.

The vaccine clinic starts at 8:00 a.m. but a technician and a pharmacist arrive to the pharmacy clean room to prepare doses as early as 6:00 a.m.

“She tries to get at least 120 doses done in that first hour so when they come in at 7:30 or 8, they are ready to go with a good supply of vaccine, and then we just continue all a day,” Dr. Ana Kight, Pharm. D., said.

Two pharmacy technicians mix the vaccine, as soon as they are done with one set, they are given another. The cycle continues.

“We have people outside of our clean room, labeling them, getting them ready to go outside and then we have out director and another technician who are running back and forth checking on how many doses are outside and how many we are currently are making to make sure we can keep up with them outside because we don’t want them waiting on us,” Dr. Kight said.

Starting right here at the Southeast Health clean room, before hitting the vaccine drive through clinic. Pharmacy techs prepare 1,000 vaccines a day. Ten vials taking about one hour to prepare.

“We do them in batches of 10 vials and each vial makes six, so that’s 60 doses,” Dr. Kight said.

Ensuring the vaccine prep area is a controlled and sterile environment.

“We have the technicians dressed out and that way we know that it’s the highest safety quality,” Dr. Kight said. “We know that they are clean, we know that they are prepared in the best way possible before they head out to our nurses to give.”

The most vaccine doses the clinic has prepared in a single day this week is 1,170.

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