BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Kentucky will receive 38,025 COVID-19 vaccines in the next coming week, and 975 of those will be allocated to Med Center Health in Bowling Green. 

What You Need To Know

  • Med Center Health in Bowling Green to receive 975 COVID-19 vaccines

  • All 975 to be first dose for healthcare providers, long-term care facility workers

  • Hospital has two ultra-low cold storage freezers

  • Hospital offering vaccine on a voluntary basis

To be eligible as a provider, hospitals and care facilities have to meet the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria, which includes having an ultra-low cold storage freezer, being enrolled as a COVID-19 provider, covering a large part of the state, and being located in a high-risk zone. Med Center Health meets all of the criteria. As of Dec. 8, Warren County has 8,114 positive cases, the third-highest in Kentucky. 

The Pfizer vaccine is currently waiting for approval by the CDC, with the administration hoping for its approval within the next week. The vaccine will be given in two doses. 

Vice President of Corporate Support Services at Med Center Health Melinda Joyce says that all 975 will be the first dose for healthcare providers and long-term care facility workers. 

“In fact, we have been told not to hold any of the vaccine back for the second dose, that we will get a later shipment of the second dose, which should be given around 21 days after the first dose,” Joyce said. 

The hospital has two ultra-low cold storage freezers. They must both be kept at -100°F and can only be opened twice a day for 60 seconds. They can be monitored continuously by the corporate director of the pharmacy, via the cloud. 

The Barren River District Health Department has not come up with a comprehensive plan to allocate the vaccine among all of the counties it covers, but Med Center Health has satellite hospitals throughout South Central Kentucky. It plans to transport vaccine doses to various locations via dry ice. 

“In dry ice, the vaccine has to be used within five days, or you can replenish the dry ice another time and then you can use it a little bit longer than that, but again that will be something that will be able to provide to other places, if needed, will be the vaccine in dry ice,” Joyce said. 

Med Center Health plans to roll out the vaccine as soon as possible. The Pfizer vaccine is not the only one up for approval. Other vaccines like the Moderna product could be a good alternative for smaller or rural hospitals because it can be maintained in a regular freezer, said Joyce. She says the hospital is not mandating staff to get vaccinated, but it is highly encouraged. 

“We are offering it on a voluntary basis. We are strongly encouraging it. It’s just one of the ways that we will be able to beat this virus, if we have a large enough group of people that have become vaccinated,” Joyce said. 

The hospital has a waiting list of people ready to take the vaccine when it becomes available, and it will be offered in the hospital's pharmacy department.