PRINCETON — Nurses and other medical personnel lined up Wednesday morning to become the first frontline professionals receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
Doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived Tuesday night at Princeton Community Hospital. Pharmacist Daniel Morr i s o n and his colleagues picked up the vaccine at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic School in Lewisburg, one of the state’s four hubs where hospitals and other healthcare entities can accept vaccine shipments.
The vaccine, which must be kept at ultra-cool temperatures, was taken directly to the hospital’s pharmacy so it could be logged into a government database. It must be raised to room temperature before it can be administered, so the first inoculations were given Wednesday morning.
“The first vaccine was received this morning at 7:30 (a.m.) by Sara Hill, RN,” said Richard Hypes, director of marketing. “She is a charge nurse in the ER. Sara has been with PCH for 16 years. The first dose was administered by Jessica Young, RN, assistant director of emergency services and critical are.”
Other members of the PCH staff were ready when Hill received the first dose.
“In fact, they were already in line so they were ready to go right after Sara,” Hypes recalled.
Hill, who works on the hospital’s evening shift, was not available for comment.
After being vaccinated, the recipients waited about 15 minutes or more before leaving to make sure they did not have any allergic reactions. Nursing Director Rose Morgan said the process was going very well.
“We’ve had our first session and we’re starting our second session, which is starting at 11 o’clock,” she said. “We’re excited about the fact that the vaccine has arrived and we are working very diligently to get our frontline staff and physicians at the highest risk of COVID vaccinated first.”
Morgan said when the vaccine arrived Tuesday evening that PCH will be following CDC and state guidelines when prioritizing who is vaccinated first. The first tier includes personnel who have frequent and prolonged exposure to COVID patients and patients undergoing COVID testing. They include emergency room staff, critical care personnel and others facing exposure to the virus.
The hospital received 145 doses of vaccine. Morgan said they anticipated giving all those vaccinations Wednesday, today and Friday.
“We set up three different sessions a day, spread out so we can get our day shift and night shift all scheduled in,” she stated.
Hospital personnel will continue wearing masks, gloves and other personal protection equipment (PPE) after they have been vaccinated.
“They absolutely have to have the PPE,” Morgan said. “The vaccine is a twostep vaccination process.”
Recipients will not fully realize the vaccine’s benefit “until some period of time after the second dose, which is like a booster,” she stated.
Both the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine and the one manufactured by Moderna require two doses. The injections are three weeks apart of Pfizer and four weeks apart for Moderna.
“There are also some questions about there being different strains of COVID, so out of an abundance of caution we still require our hospital personnel to wear personal protection equipment,” Morgan said. “It won’t absolve them from wearing PPE.”
Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com