Their patients can’t be immunized, but Pediatricians are best equipped to become COVID vaccine distributors

Updated: Feb. 5, 2021 at 10:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The U.S. could be just weeks away from seeing a big jump in COVID vaccinations.

This comes as doctors’ offices across the state prepare to receive doses. And with a single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson nearing FDA approval, getting your vaccine could become much easier.

Health officials agree that Pediatricians are the best equipped and prepared to handle the doses.

“This our wheelhouse, this is what we do,” said Dr. Sandra Herron of Tanque Verde Pediatrics. “We do have the technology and the room for either the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

Dr. Herron is one of the 100 provider offices in Pima county who have gone through what is called the “onboarding process”. An online application to become an approved point of distribution.

“We had to take pictures of our vaccine refrigerator and freezer, we had to show that we followed the regulations for shipping for storage and for administration for those vaccines,” said Herron.

They are no strangers to the onboarding process since they vaccinate for several diseases and viruses regularly. Other providers are not, which is why the health department says they’ll urge more to apply.

“I do think you’ll see us as well as the state to make a bigger push for some kind of onboarding so providers offices can distribute that,” said Pima County Health Department Director, Dr. Theresa Cullen.

Despite mainly serving children, the approved offices like Dr. Herron’s will be able to vaccinate anyone within the current phase the county is in.

“Now we’re just sitting around waiting for the actual vaccine to get in,” said Herron.

There’s hope that will be soon, since Johnson and Johnson put in their request for emergency use authorization Thursday.

The process for Pfizer and Moderna took about 2-3 weeks. That means doctor’s distributing the vaccine will follow. Still, there’s no official date or decision on how registration will go.

“If the state is going to have us make appointments through a central registry then we will have that registry and we’ll have to follow their rules and regulations,” explained Herron on making appointments. “If they leave it up to each distribution center to come up with a scheduling process than we can have that up in a matter of days.”

The US has placed an order for 100-million doses and Johnson and Johnson said it can deliver that amount by June.

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