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COVID-19 Vaccine to Arrive on Cape Cod Next Week; First Batch Will Go to Health Care Workers

Cape Cod Healthcare expects to receive the Cape’s first doses of COVID-19 vaccine during the latter part of next week, CEO Mike Lauf said Thursday.

The state hasn’t told him how many doses will be in the first shipment, but all of them will go to frontline employees of Cape Cod Healthcare, he said.

“We anticipate that the doses we do get will be able to take care of our frontline staff, both COVID-facing and others in clinical areas, in its entirety,” he said. “That includes not only physicians and nurses, but each and every employee that, again, takes care of people, or is COVID-facing, or is in the clinical environment.”

To date, the state has not asked Cape Cod Healthcare to serve as the distributor of future doses to first responders or other high-priority groups. But Lauf said if the request comes, the company will do so.

Other groups in Phase 1 of the state plan include people in long-term care facilities; congregate care, such as shelters and jails; and other health care workers.

The federal government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer the vaccine at long-term care facilities.

The number of doses the state is receiving has been revised multiple times, so pinning down how many the Cape will get is difficult, Lauf said.

But many people are working hard to make things happen.

“This is absolutely the most fluid process we've — any of us have ever seen. And there's no playbook for it,” he said. “And I can tell you, everyone I've dealt with has put their heart and their soul and their best foot forward.”

The first batch of vaccines to reach Cape Cod will come from Pfizer and require ultra-cold storage. Cape Cod Healthcare has two of the necessary freezers, which can hold a combined 30,000 doses.

Lauf praised two employees — Jim Mangan, head of pharmacy, and Noelene Cervin, head of supply chain — for strongly encouraging him to acquire the freezers months ago.

He said he’s glad he listened.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.