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COVID-19 vaccine prep: Chestnut Health Systems tests readiness

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BLOOMINGTON (HOI) - Across the globe there are currently hundreds of COVID-19 vaccination studies underway.

Some of them, most recently the Johnson and Johnson study, have been put on pause, making a set timeline uncertain.

But area healthcare providers want to be ready.

"We're hearing that the vaccine may need refrigeration or may need to be kept at a sub zero temperature and it may need to be administered within a pretty short time frame after we receive it. Potentially 48 hours, 72 hours." said Lori Laughlin with Chestnut Health Systems

Chestnut Health Systems is designated by the McLean County Health Department as a "closed point of dispensing."

"What that means is in a pandemic or a national health emergency if medication or vaccination becomes available we could offer them to our staff, their families, and to patients and clients." said Laughlin

This is in an effort to alleviate the strain on the healthcare system.

On Wednesday they conducted an exercise where employees could get their flu shots as a place holder for a COVID-19 vaccination.

CEO David Sharar said there are a number of things they are trying to learn from the exercise.

"How you register and document and how you can give a shot safety but rapidly. You get lines so how many administrators do you need. Just the practical aspects because when the COVID vaccine becomes available it's going to be a much bigger deal." said Sharar

"Two employees are acting as evaluators so they are watching the exercise and making notes and will provide that feedback and the end and also we will send out a survey to all of our employees to get their impression on how everything went." added Laughlin

While Chestnut Health Systems said they would not require employees to get a vaccine when one becomes available, it is about providing the best level of health for them and the community.

Kaitlin Pearson

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