The U.S. is preparing for a COVID-19 vaccine, with several manufacturers in various stages of clinical trials and reviews. Public health authorities have cited different estimates for when a vaccine will be made available. However, at this time, no vaccines have been approved, even for limited use. Our leadership team is closely following developments and preparing for a variety of scenarios.
A lot remains to be known about the COVID-19 vaccine. For example, will more than one vaccine be approved, will it be one dose or two, and how much will we receive? While we wait to know more, Providence clinical, infection prevention and operational leaders have offered some information about the importance of—and the rigorous process for—one or more vaccines to be approved and then be made available.
Why is the COVID-19 vaccine important?
Vaccines are one of the best, most effective ways to eradicate diseases. Thanks to vaccines and their scientific advancements, some diseases have been eliminated across all or most of the globe. For example, smallpox sickened and killed millions of people before a vaccine was created. Because the disease was eliminated worldwide following the creation of a vaccine, we no longer need to get immunized for it.
A COVID-19 vaccine, once proven safe and effective, will help us to protect the health of our communities today and for years to come, whether the disease is eradicated or remains a public health challenge into the future.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be safe and effective?
Much still remains unknown about the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently undergoing clinical trials. What we know is that the COVID-19 vaccine will have gone through the same rigorous clinical trial protocols and safety evaluations that have been used for years and that have been proven effective for other vaccines we use commonly in the U.S. (e.g., influenza or flu).
Whatever COVID-19 vaccine(s) emerges from this process will have been extensively studied, and be deemed the safest and most effective preventive strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19 by public health, clinical and infection prevention experts. Leaders from the CDC, FDA, public health agencies and pharmaceutical companies have pledged not to take any shortcuts. Ensuring that a vaccine has been scientifically proven to be both safe and effective is critical for the public to have confidence in it, and the data will drive our decision-making.
Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available?
We’re still gathering information from public health authorities and don’t have the details about distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, once approved. We know that the vaccine will be rolled out in phases to ensure the most vulnerable and high-risk populations, including health care and essential workers, have access to it first. Over time and as vaccine supplies are built up, it will presumably be made available to the broader population.
As we receive more information from public health officials, we’ll know more about availability and distribution. As always, the science will guide our actions, and we will always put the safety and wellbeing of patients and caregivers first.
Work continues across the organization to plan and prepare for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Stay up-to-date by checking back regularly to this website or, for those with access, by visiting our COVID-19 SharePoint page (Providence caregivers only). In the meantime, thank you for all you do to serve our patients and your fellow caregivers, day in and day out.
Learn more about our COVID-19 vaccine preparedness here.
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