‘Really think about what it is that’s happening here’: Ballad Health officials make plea to community following record number of cases

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Drug maker Pfizer said new test results suggest the company’s vaccine is now 95% effective, Wednesday.

The pharmaceutical corporation says the data also shows that the vaccine is safe and protects older people most at risk of dying.

Pfizer is preparing within days to formally ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use.

Tennessee is among four states that will help Pfizier test its pilot program for COVID-19 vaccine delivery.

Ballad Health explained its initial plans for the vaccine.

News Channel 11’s Pheben Kassahun found out the health system continues to plead with the public to practice preventative measures.

Health is prepared to receive and house the vaccine by purchasing deep freezers, once the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed to hospitals.

Ballad Health chief administration officer Eric Deaton said, “This vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70.”

Pfizer announced Wednesday, that its vaccine is 95% effective, and the request for the FDA to approve emergency use is just days away.

Deaton said, “I would really ask people to not be distrustful about this. Really focus on the fact that we have a very good news here.”

Chief administrative officer, Eric Deaton said Ballad Health has purchased four freezers to house the vaccine at its appropriate temperature.

Deaton, “We feel very good about this opportunity to have two vaccines available in the very near future, although the results aren’t complete, we are continuing to be hopeful that these vaccines will be ready, especially to our frontline health care workers very soon, and then too the rest of the community as they become available.”

“It will not be a situation where if the vaccine is available in December, by January we have everybody vaccinated. We need to be prepared for that. It will take months,” Ballad Health chief physician executive, Dr. Clay Runnels said.

As the Thanksgiving holiday looms, chief infection prevention officer Jamie Swift said people need to adhere to the guidelines before it becomes too late.

“If we continue on this path, it is only a matter of time before someone who needs care can’t receive it because COVID-19 has overrun our hospitals and our team members,” Jamie Swift said.

Deaton said, “Don’t let it be political. Really think about what it is that’s happening here.”

About two weeks ago Ballad Health announced its regional temporary premium nursing positions to try to get additional support for the team.

Ballad Health said there has been progress in the hiring process and will continue to interview candidates and until the needs are filled.

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