Aspirus Health today received its first allocation of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and has started vaccinating its employees, according to a news release.

The arrival of Aspirus’ first supply of vaccines comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the vaccine for emergency use authorization this past weekend. Aspirus is following FDA and CDC guidelines to use the limited vaccine supplies to initially vaccinate health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities and Emergency Medical Services personnel against COVID-19.

“Our top priority has been the health and safety of our staff and communities,” said Matthew Heywood, President and CEO of Aspirus. “It is exciting that this important tool in the fight against the pandemic is now available and we eagerly await the time when vaccine supplies become more widely available in 2021 to begin offering it to our community members.”

Aspirus’ first shipment of vaccines was delivered to Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium, Michigan. Aspirus has not yet received confirmation from the Department of Health Services on when it will receive its first allocation of vaccines in Wisconsin.

Aspirus did not receive enough doses for all its employees who wish to be vaccinated. It is following CDC guidance to provide the vaccine first to those employees who are at the highest risk. This includes those who are regularly providing care to patients with COVID-19. The number of people eligible to receive the vaccine will grow as vaccine supplies allow.

It is anticipated the vaccine will not be available in large enough quantities to begin providing vaccinations to community members for several months.

Aspirus will make future announcements when the public can begin making appointments to be vaccinated against COVID-19.