Stephen Parodi, MD, discusses COVID-19 vaccine mobilization effort

Following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine late Friday, Stephen Parodi, MD, told CNN International that The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG) and Kaiser Permanente have been mobilizing and working with public health partners to begin administering the vaccine as early as this week.

“It is very welcome news,” said Dr. Parodi, who serves as TPMG’s associate executive director and national infectious disease leader for Kaiser Permanente. “We, in fact, participated in the vaccine trial, so we have confidence in both the safety and efficacy of this vaccine.”

Behind the scenes, Permanente physicians and staff have developed workflows to get the vaccine to groups of people prioritized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prioritized groups include health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities who, he said, “really are the most vulnerable populations at risk for complications from COVID.”

At the same time, Permanente physicians and staff have faced another daunting challenge: a surge of COVID-19 cases. “We’ve had to staff up,” Dr. Parodi said. “And then on top of that, we’ve repurposed the staff that works on the outpatient side to be ready for the COVID-19 vaccine effort.”

Watch the full CNN International interview in the video below.