CASPER — Public health departments in Casper and Cheyenne each received shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday. Three additional shipments of the same number of doses were expected to arrive Tuesday at hospitals in Cody, Jackson and Gillette.
Initial vaccine doses could soon be in every county in Wyoming, said Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti.
“If everything goes as expected nationally with the authorization of the Moderna vaccine later this week, every county in Wyoming will receive direct shipments of one or both authorized vaccines by sometime next week,” she said.
Gov. Mark Gordon told lawmakers Dec. 7 that 5,000 initial vaccine doses would soon be in Wyoming.
Just under 2,000 of those doses arrived Monday. Both the Casper-Natrona County Health Department and the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department received a shipment of 975 doses, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
Gordon said 15,000 total doses could be in the state by year’s end.
Health care workers and residents of the state’s nursing homes will be first to receive vaccine doses, according to the state’s draft distribution plan and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among health care workers, officials plan to first vaccinate hospital staff, followed by medics, providers at long-term care facilities and then other health-related groups.
It will likely be 2021 before the state begins the next phase of administering the vaccine, which would cover some essential workers as well as those 65 years or older and those with underlying conditions.
Experts have said healthy people who do not fall in a priority category will likely have to wait until spring for enough vaccine doses to be available.
The Pfizer vaccine requires an initial shot and a booster 21 days later. State officials have said the first shipments will be used to give residents the first shot, with the booster shots to be distributed using later shipments.
The news of the vaccine’s arrival comes at a time of declining cases and hospitalizations in Wyoming following a massive surge in infections this fall.