With the arrival of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, Community Healthcare System, based in Northwest Indiana, has expanded the vaccine clinic availability in Lake County currently at Community Hospital in Munster. The healthcare system has added a second vaccination clinic at the Community Stroke & Rehabilitation Center. The center is located at 10205 S. Broadway in Crown Point with convenient access to I-65.
“Working together with the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH), the hospitals of Community Healthcare System are taking a lead role in the distribution of the coronavirus vaccines,” said Alan Kumar, MD, chief medical officer. “We have the resources and storage capability to handle all the different vaccine types that will be released over the next few months and the operational capability to vaccinate a large number of people.”
Both the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccines show similar efficacy levels of near 95 percent. Both vaccines also rely on the same messenger RNA to work, however they have slightly different structures and makeup which calls for different storage and handling requirements. The Moderna vaccine, unlike the Pfizer vaccine, does not need to be stored in subzero temperatures. Moderna’s vaccine can be kept at about minus-20 degrees Celsius which is similar to the temperature inside a home freezer compartment. Moderna’s vaccine is also given in two doses, but those doses are administered 28 days apart.
Priority in Phase 1A is being given to licensed and unlicensed healthcare workers, those who work directly with patient care including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical, occupational and speech therapists, pharmacists, imaging technologists, laboratory technicians, social services workers, environmental services staff, case management, non-traditional providers such as doulas and midwives, pastoral care staff, dental providers, emergency medical services and nursing students. Through this first phase, Community Healthcare System is responsible for vaccinating not only their internal staff, but also healthcare personnel in Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties as well.
Besides the vaccination clinic located at Community Hospital campus, the Moderna vaccine is available to healthcare workers by appointment only Monday through Friday at the Crown Point location.
“The Crown Point clinic is now open,” said Kumar. “We are in constant contact with the State in reviewing the rapidly evolving policies and processes as more information is released. The goal is to protect those with the most risk of exposure, prevent transmission to vulnerable populations, and to reinforce our healthcare workforce by preventing illness.”
Phase 1B of the distribution plan includes high risk populations including people who are at particular risk of morbidity and mortality to COVID-19 (those 80 years of age and older and residents of long-term care facilities). Governor Holcomb made the announcement last week and distribution to this group began Friday, January 8, 2021. More information about who is eligible can be found at ourshot.in.gov.
For more information about the hospitals of Community Healthcare System including Community Hospital, Munster, St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago, St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart and specialty hospital Community Stroke & Rehabilitation Center, Crown Point, visit COMHS.org.