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St. Louis doctor explains next steps after FDA panel approves Pfizer vaccine

Pfizer says UPS and FedEx will start shipping the vaccine Sunday

ST. LOUIS — The COVID-19 vaccine is coming soon.

The FDA and a CDC advisory panel have approved the vaccine. The director of the CDC now has to accept those recommendations.

Pfizer says UPS and FedEx will start shipping the vaccine Sunday.

RELATED: US says COVID-19 vaccine to start arriving in states Monday

This week we'll be seeing shipments into the St. Louis area.

Giving extra protection to our health care workers to keep going.

BJC and Washington University will be two of about 20 facilities across Missouri getting the first shipments of the state's 51,000 doses.

Dr. Hilary Babcock, an infectious disease specialist at WashU and BJC, broke down why distribution will be swift.

"So normally after an approval, the company would start ramping up production and start making doses. But because of the federal funding and the programs that have been in place, we already have manufacturing doses of this vaccine ready to ship," Dr. Babcock said. 

As the initial doses make its way to the Show-Me State, frontline health care workers will be the first to get the shot.

"In all health care settings, acute care, outpatient care, long term care, and then trying to get doses to long term care patients. The hope is that we will be able to vaccinate tens of thousands of health care workers over the next few weeks," Dr. Babcock said. 

But who will be injecting these vaccines?

"Most of the health care systems will be vaccinating their own staff," she said.

Through the BJC and WashU partnership, they'll be able to identify staff to perform the task.

"Maybe we could take one away from the clinic and come help vaccinate their colleagues during that day," she said. 

Dr. Babcock will be among the first group to get it.

She said there's no doubt she'll get the shot, after COVID-19 personally impacted her family.

"As someone who had COVID myself in the spring, I lost my mom to COVID in the summer, I am so excited to finally have something positive and something good that we know will actually make a difference in controlling this pandemic," Dr. Babcock said. 

As for the Moderna vaccine, it's being reviewed and if things go well, it should be approved in the next week and then those doses will go out as well.

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