NFMMC initially bypassed for vaccines, waits for shipment

NYSDOH: "We anticipate that safe transfer"
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
Posted at 3:58 PM, Dec 17, 2020

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW) — “You can imagine our employees —our health care workers — our physicians — all of our providers — they're very anxious to receive the vaccine,” declared Joseph Ruffolo, president & CEO, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Joseph Ruffolo, president & CEO, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center was set to receive hundreds of doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, instead the shipment was sent to Catholic Health.

But the New York State Health Department 7 Eyewitness News the hospital should expect to get vaccines.

The state health department says when the vaccine orders were placed on December 4th, by the federal government, the Falls hospital did not have proper refrigeration in place.

This is the freezer Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center installed for vaccines.

“At that time Niagara Falls did not have — they do have it now and we are working with that facility insure the safe transfers of those vaccines to that on site location,” explained Gary Holmes, spokesperson, NYSDOH.

Last weekend, the hospital announced it had installed this required — ultra-cold — refrigeration unit.

Outside Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Holmes tells 7 Eyewitness News they are now preparing to ship vaccines to the hospital.

“So Wednesday night there were discussion — being held and we anticipate that safe transfer happening as soon as today,” said Holmes.

But Ruffolo says a balance of the allotment of vaccine that didn't go to Catholic Health remains unaccounted for.

However, Ruffolo says along with the planned Pfizer shipment, the hospital is also expecting future vaccines from Moderna when approved.

“We’re hopeful that those shipments — from Moderna — those future shipments from Pfzier come directly to the facility rather than the track that it was on in terms of the first distribution,” Ruffolo remarked.

The hospital earmarked an allotment of the initial vaccines for its nursing home workers and residents, but now that's delayed.

“Rather than depend on pharmacies to administer it to nursing homes, which would happen in a couple of weeks — we felt it would be important to directly administered by us to nursing home residents as soon as possible,” Ruffolo said.

Hospital employees were instructed to receive their vaccine at Mount Saint Mary's Hospital in Lewiston or Mercy Hospital in south Buffalo.

A Catholic Health spokesperson said some employees from NFMMH showed up at Mount Saint Mary's in for their vaccine.