'Locked and loaded': How CEOs in North Carolina, Ohio are preparing for COVID-19 vaccines

Health system CEOs in North Carolina and Ohio told CNBC this week they are excited about a COVID-19 vaccine and are making plans for distribution.

Gene Woods, president and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health, said his health system anticipates that vaccine distribution is a few weeks away and is prepared.

"We are locked and loaded, ready to fight this virus," he told CNBC. "We have refrigeration units that can store, on day one, 300,000 vials. "We're also training staff as we speak."

Mr. Woods said seeing his exhausted front-line workers receive their first dosage will be the highlight of the year and decade.

Steve Markovich, MD, president and CEO of Columbus-based OhioHealth, said his health system is also ready.

"We're anxious for the vaccine at OhioHealth. I think across the state of Ohio there will be 10 places set up to distribute, and OhioHealth has two of those, so we're working on the protocols, working through the triaging of people, and it's going to be an exciting time," he told CNBC.

"It's really hopefully going to be the beginning of the end. It won't be easy. It's not going to be fast. It'll be complicated. But I really think it's going to be a very exciting time," said Dr. Markovich.

The comments from the CEOs come as Pfizer and Moderna seek emergency FDA approval for their vaccine candidates. 

A CDC panel has said long-term care residents and healthcare workers should be the first to receive vaccines, according to The New York Times.

 

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