Vizient releases resource center to help hospitals prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine

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Vizient, a healthcare performance improvement company, launched its Vaccine Resource Center today. The online platform gives hospitals and healthcare providers up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccine landscape to help them prepare for the eventual regulatory approval of a vaccine.

The resource center is made up of three parts: a development tracker, a candidate comparison and a vaccine preparedness checklist.

Vizient’s vaccine development tracker is updated weekly and provides a list of the manufacturers working on a COVID-19 vaccine and their most recent status updates.

The company also created a document that gives side-by-side comparisons of each vaccine in a late stage of its clinical trial. Updated bi-weekly, the candidate comparison tool provides an in-depth look at the clinical characteristics of each vaccine including the manufacturing process, the number of doses required and a list of adverse effects for each candidate.

Also included in the resource center is a checklist for hospitals to use to test their preparedness to administer the vaccine once approved. It prompts organizations to assess whether they will be able to properly store the vaccine, how they will prioritize distribution, who will administer it and more.

WHY THIS MATTERS

If the candidates stay on track, an approved vaccine could hit the market by early 2021 or sooner.

Planning for the vaccine is already well underway, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releasing a COVID-19 vaccination playbook in September. In it, the agency says that immunization is a key part of the U.S.’s strategy to reduce COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

“Hospitals need to prepare now so they can be part of the vaccination effort in their communities,” said Azra Behlim, the senior director of pharmacy sourcing and program services for Vizient, in a statement. “The information on the Vaccine Resource Center will help them make those strategic decisions.”

THE LARGER TREND

It is still unclear when exactly a vaccine will be approved, but Pfizer has announced that it will submit an application next month to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for its Covid-19 vaccine.

Whenever a vaccine is approved, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services have said that prioritization will be necessary at first due to limited dosage supplies. The elderly (especially those in nursing homes), healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals like those with chronic illnesses will likely be the first to get a vaccine.

Other vaccine-tracking platforms include one from The New York Times and one from the Milken Institute.

ON THE RECORD

“It’s likely there will be more than one [COVID-19] vaccine approved under an emergency use authorization, and they are not all manufactured with the same platform,” Behlim said. “Each vaccine candidate in development uses a different vaccine technology, which makes them clinically different. They also have different refrigeration and dosing requirements. All of these factors must be considered as hospitals plan to vaccinate their employees and their communities.”