WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — With federal approval of a coronavirus vaccine possible as early as Thursday, hospitals all over the country and here in West Michigan are poised to receive shipments and start doling out doses.

“If all goes well, by next week, we should receive our first doses in West Michigan,” Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronald Grifka said.

The Food and Drug Administration is holding a hearing Thursday on the vaccine designed by Pfizer and Germany-based BioNTech. The American Council on Immunization Practices will also decide whether to give it the OK.

“This is really the light at the end of the tunnel,” Grifka said. “These COVID-19 infections has put quite a damper on our jobs, our schools, our education, our life. This is the way for us to get out of this pandemic.”

All of the United States’ vaccine doses were produced at Pfizer’s Portage plant and are ready to be shipped out. Each case comes with 975 doses. It’s unclear how many cases each hospital will receive.

“Shipping it is a bit of a challenge because it needs to be held at minus 80- degrees centigrade,” Grifka pointed out.

The doses will be moved in dry ice to keep them cold enough.

The state of Michigan will have a tier system outlining who gets the first doses, then the next group to whom the shots will be available and so on until they are offered to the general public. While a precise priority system has not been released to News 8, the state has made it clear that health care workers and those in long-term care facilities will be at the top.

Within hospitals, doctors and nurses who are most often exposed to the virus will get vaccinated first, before workers with the least exposure.

Grifka said shots could be available to the lowest-risk average citizens by March or April, qualifying, “depends on how quickly we can get this vaccine made and out to us.”

The FDA will review a similar vaccine from Moderna next week. If approved, it will increase the supply and could speed up the timetable.