Dr. Christopher Lewis, a general surgeon, was the first physician at Miami County Medical Center to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, Dec. 16. Olathe Health network began vaccinating its front-line caregivers on Wednesday.

PAOLA — Miami County Medical Center received its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, Dec. 16, and began vaccinating its front-line caregivers.

Olathe Health reported Wednesday its pharmacist team received the health network’s first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and some of those vials were distributed to Miami County Medical Center.

Olathe Health began vaccinating its front-line caregivers Wednesday afternoon.

Dr. Christopher Lewis, a general surgeon, was the first physician at Miami County Medical Center to receive the vaccine.

Once transferred to a refrigerator, the Pfizer vaccine must be mixed and administered within five days, according to Olathe Health. Preparing the vaccine includes thawing the vials, diluting the mixture and inverting the mixture, according to the health network.

The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization last Friday, Dec. 11, for the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech. Hospitals across the United States reported receiving shipments of the vaccine this week.

Predictions vary, but most U.S. health experts think it could be spring or even summer 2021 before the vaccine is available to members of the general population who are not essential workers or in other high-risk groups like nursing home residents.

The Pfizer vaccine was reported to be about 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 during its trials.

Pfizer also has been cleared for use by a European Union agency as cases surge in Europe.

The FDA granted U.S. authorization to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Dec. 18.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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