Gerber to receive doses within 1-2 weeks
Amidst an atmosphere of optimism and hope Spectrum Health introduced the first two recipients of the Pfizer COVID vaccine at their media briefing this afternoon.
Dr Mark McClelland M.D. and Yvette Kamana R.N. have both been at the frontlines in the battle against the virus serving in the ICU and COVID units and each expressed the hope that this would be the beginning of better times ahead.
“The virus has taken an emotional toll on healthcare workers,” said Ms. Kamana. “I felt blessed to be one of the first because it feels like we’re finally getting somewhere.”
“ I feel grateful to receive it,” said Dr. McClelland. “After caring for COVID patients this was a very emotional moment to realize this is the next chapter in our journey.
“If you saw what we see everyday you would understand.”
According to Spectrum Health President Darryl Elmouchi, MD they received 975 doses this morning. These will be given to front line patient care workers as their first dose. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be given to all those receiving it today again in 3 weeks.
In the meantime plans are to make the vaccine available to Spectrum team members who work in patient care within the next couple of weeks with regional hospitals including Gerber to be receiving it within 1-2 weeks.
Asked about whether the vaccine would be required Dr. Elmouchi explained that while not required the vaccine has been strongly recommended. President and CEO Tina Freese Decker was asked if there was resistance from staff about taking the vaccine.
“We sent out a survey and while we don’t have all the numbers I can tell you team members were overwhelmingly positive about taking the vaccine,” she stated.
While it will likely be spring at the earliest before the vaccine becomes available to the general public there are already plans developed collaboratively among hospitals, public health organizations and other entities to deal with the logistics involved as well as delivering a unified message to the citizenry.
In the meantime the speakers each urged the public to continue practicing the guidelines aimed at preventing the spread such as masking social distancing and limiting or eliminating any gatherings.
According to the medical staff at the briefing to achieve herd immunity somewhere between 70-80% of the population would need to be vaccinated.
“Getting the vaccine is an opportunity for us all to step up and help each other,” added Ms. Kamana.