During February and March of this year, when vaccine was still scarce, Rogosin was able to vaccinate 500 of our patients against COVID-19 at nine Dialysis Centers throughout New York City. The Rogosin team worked together so patients could be vaccinated at the location where they already went for dialysis.
“Our patients were at high risk of becoming seriously ill if they contracted COVID-19,” says Allyson Pifko, RN, Chief Operating Officer. “At the same time, many of our patients had to continue coming to a Center for life-sustaining treatment during the pandemic. When they became eligible to receive vaccine, we wanted to be able to provide it at their local Dialysis Center, a place they knew and trusted.”
The Friday before Thanksgiving, Allyson and Jeffrey Silberzweig, MD, Chief Medical Officer, submitted an application to the New York Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR) with the New York State Department of Health for approval to administer vaccine to patients. Right before Christmas, they received the news that they had been granted permission. “That was just the beginning of our journey,” says Allyson. “We had permission, but now we needed to find vaccine.”
Securing the Vaccine
In January, there was a lot of competition among providers to obtain vaccine for their patients. Rogosin leadership pursued every possible source for vaccine but were unable to secure any for our patients. Finally in February, working with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, they obtained Pfizer vaccine. “This vaccine requires special freezers,” says Allyson, “and fortunately Rogosin had them in our research lab.”
At Rogosin, getting shots in arms was going to be the easy part since patients were already coming to Dialysis Centers and many were eager for the vaccine. The process of getting vaccine to nine Centers for four shifts of patients would be much more complicated. “Our goal was to use every vial of vaccine we had without wasting one dose,” says Allyson. “Once vaccine was removed from the freezer in the morning, it had to be used that day. The clinical management team did an incredible job of determining how much was needed, distributing it to our sites, and then redistributing it, if necessary.” Many members of the Rogosin team in an array of different roles came together to make this happen. “Thanks to each of them, we were able to achieve our goal and vaccinate 500 people without wasting a dose,” says Allyson. “It was an amazing experience, and we all are extremely proud that we were able to do something during the pandemic that really
made a difference.”