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Health & Science
WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

MetroHealth Doctors 'Excited' to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine and Ready to Combat Misinformation

A photo of MetroHealth main campus.
MetroHealth
Gov. Mike DeWine has prioritized 10 sites for getting the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, and three of them are in Northeast Ohio: MetroHealth, Cleveland Clinic, and Aultman Hospital.

Now that the Food & Drug Administration has approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, local healthcare professionals are preparing to combat misinformation about the drug, which is expected to arrive in Ohio tomorrow.

MetroHealth, Cleveland Clinic and Aultman Hospital are three of 10 hospitals statewide designated by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to receive the vaccine first. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has also selected 37 sites across the country, including Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

Dr. Amy Ray, MetroHealth’s medical director for infection protection, says they plan to follow his guidance on prioritizing the vaccine, getting it to health care workers and to people in congregate living environments.

“Our outreach extends to homeless shelters and we are there twice a week to test. We also provide care for Cuyahoga County jail. We have an acute rehabilitation hospital as well as a long-term care facility. So, my vantage point is quite broad.”

Dr. Ray adds that it’s impossible to overeducate people about the vaccine. She plans to listen with open ears and answer people’s questions and concerns about things like how quickly the vaccine was approved.

“There was a lot of science already known about coronaviruses before SARS-CoV-2. So very early on, scientists knew which protein would induce immunity in a human. So that basic knowledge allowed for a very rapid start of clinical trials.”

She has also been asked if the vaccine contains preservatives or mercury – which it does not.

Dr. Amy Ray on how the pandemic is affecting caregivers
Dr. Amy Ray on how the pandemic is affecting caregivers