How Ohio Will Distribute Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine!, By Chris Mosby, Posted December 8th 2020


The Buckeye State is preparing to receive, store and distribute its first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ohio is preparing to distribute COVID-19 vaccines across the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine toured a Central Ohio warehouse this week to review the facility’s process for distributing incoming COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is expected to arrive in Ohio in mid-December. The vaccine requires special storage and shipment protocols to remain effective.

The Ohio Department of Health’s Vaccine Preparedness Office has been practicing its distribution plan by shipping out the adult influenza vaccine using the same process it will use for the COVID-19 vaccine. This allows teams to run daily drills on the distribution plan.

“This is necessary to get [the vaccines] out to smaller counties,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. He said the Ohio National Guard’s practices have been “impressive.”

Here’s how the vaccine will be distributed throughout the state.

  • First, the Pfizer vaccine will be shipped directly to Ohio’s 10 prepositioned hospital sites.
    • Mercy Health — St. Vincent Medical Center
    • Cleveland Clinic
    • MetroHealth
    • Mercy Health — Springfield Regional Medical Center
    • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
    • OhioHealth — Riverside Methodist Hospital
    • Aultman Hospital
    • UC Health
    • OhioHealth — O’Bleness Hospital
    • Genesis Hospital
  • When supply increases, more health care providers will receive direct shipment of the vaccine.
  • Smaller health care providers (those requiring fewer than 975 vaccine doses) will not receive direct shipments. Instead, Pfizer will ship the vaccines to an Ohio Department of Health (ODH) warehouse, where the vaccines will be stored and then redistributed.
  • When vaccines are shipped from the ODH warehouses, they must be removed and repackaged with dry ice in less than 2 minutes. ODH staff and the Ohio National Guard are running regular drills to ensure they can safely repackage the coming Pfizer vaccines. Clocks have been hung on walls counting down the amount of time teams have to transport the vaccines.
  • All vaccines will be tracked electronically as they’re shipped through Ohio.

The Moderna vaccine, which does not require special storage techniques, will not be shipped to warehouses, but will instead be sent directly to all health care providers.