Private practices prepare to get COVID-19 vaccines as larger hospital systems begin administering doses

DELAWARE – COVID-19 vaccines are finally here, and some of Delmarva’s hospital systems are busy administering the first doses. But private practices say they’re also hoping to get their hands on the vaccine, too. That way they can protect themselves and their patients. “We know that obviously right now there is a limited number. How do we know that we’re going to be able to get it? How do we know that there’s going to be enough for us? It’s a tough situation to be in,” said owner of Millsboro’s Pearl Clinic Dr. Sherin Howett.

Dr. Howett says planning ahead for the potential arrival of the vaccine is a top priority for her team. “That really falls on my shoulders to figure out what we can do and in speaking to my staff and colleagues, everyone really echoed the same sensation or feeling of we want to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Howett.

Dr. Howett tells 47ABC she and her staff filled out applications to get those doses Friday morning. She says the application involved questions about how many staff members they had that were willing to take the vaccine, and how long they’ve been in practice. Dr. Howett says the application also requires training on administering vaccines, vaccine safety and storage, and reporting adverse events. Plus, the Pearl Clinic had to confirm they had the right kind of refrigeration units.

But Dr. Howett says they’re already thinking about their long term plan. That includes making sure they have the materials they need if a patient has an allergic reaction. “I think that we may need to increase how much of those things we have available, including oxygen or epinephrine in case someone has an allergic reaction,” said Dr. Howett.

Dr. Howett says in the coming days, she’ll be waiting to hear back from the state of Delaware on whether Pearl Clinic will be getting the vaccine. She says she and her staff are planning ahead on which of their patients will be the first to get it. “I think what we’re going to have to do is start creating lists and keeping track of which patients fall into each of those categories based on what the CDC and Department of Health measures as high risk,” said Dr. Howett.

Meanwhile in Milton, Dr. Uday Jani with Shore View Personalized Medical Care says his practice also applying for the vaccine. Dr. Jani tells 47ABC he and his staff are making sure they’re ready when the vaccine does come. To prepare for the vaccines if his practice gets them, Dr. Jani says he might have to purchase a new refrigeration unit to ensure the vaccines are ready to be administered. “I’m looking at the details right now as to what’s the right procedure. I’m training my staff to do that and we are all kind of getting ready to do it the right way,” said Dr. Jani.

Dr. Jani says he’s hoping to quickly get vaccines to his patients once Delaware is in the phase that allows the public to get vaccinated. “We are hoping that one the 1A vaccination is done at the hospitals and the long term care facilities, they’re going to roll out vaccines to primary care physicians,” said Dr. Jani.

Dr. Jani tells 47ABC making sure Delawareans who get primary care through private practice can get their vaccine is just as important as getting the doses into larger hospital systems. “When we have scarcity we are trying to get the sicker patients vaccinated first. I think the best judge of of that would be the primary care physician because they know the patients, they know the history,” said Dr. Jani.

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware, Health, Local News, Top Stories