Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University administered the first injection of COVID-19 vaccine to Dr. Dávid Becker, Deputy Director of the Heart and Vascular Centre of Semmelweis University on 26 December, 2020. Dr. Dávid Becker also takes part in the front line of COVID-19 patient care. The rector has already gone through the coronavirus infection in autumn, therefore he cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine for a few more months. Semmelweis University is prepared for the reception, storage and administration of COVID-19 vaccines: nine vaccination centers have been set up in five locations on university premises.
Semmelweis University is one of the officially designated vaccination centers, where health professionals working in the front lines of COVID-19 patient care were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Hungary. Altogether nine vaccination centers have been set up at the university in five locations, separated from other patient care units: at the Heart and Vascular Centre, the outpatient unit of Szent Rókus Block, the Inner Clinical Block, the Outer Clinical Block and at the 1st Department of Pediatrics. Physicians and health care personnel, who are involved in emergency care and COVID intensive care are provided with the vaccine in the first place, since they are exposed to the greatest risk. Upon the arrival of further vaccine supply, other employees of the university may also be able to get the vaccine, and later on Semmelweis University will take part in the vaccination of the staff of other health care institutions and the social sector in Budapest.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires special storage: refrigeration at -80 Celsius degrees is provided by Semmelweis University’s University Pharmacy Department of Pharmacy Administration, where even several thousands doses of the vaccine can be stored. The vaccines are transported to the COVID-19 vaccination centers in a closed cold chain, where the ampoules can be stored in normal refrigerators up to 5 days. The vaccine, which can be administered to people over 16, arrive in a packaging of ampoules; one ampoule contains five doses of vaccine, therefore health care professionals prepare the injection before administering the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is administered through the upper arm of the patient. A revaccination is necessary in order to reach full immunity, which is optimally administered on the 21st day following the first injection. In case this is not possible, the patient should get the second injection on any of the days between 19-23. Specific recommendations have not been drawn up centrally, only the regularly applicable precautions are recommended. According to one such recommendation arriving on an empty stomach should be avoided and after the injection, it is recommended to wait half an hour.
Altogether 27 health care professionals provide continuous administration of COVID-19 vaccines at Semmelweis University’s nine vaccination centers every day for a duration of 12 hours.
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Katalin Illés-Romhányi