This story was up to date on Monday, Dec. 17, 2020 at 7:11 p.m. with extra data.
Entrance-line well being care staff at Chattanooga hospitals had been among the many first folks in Tennessee to get the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine after the primary native deliveries arrived Thursday.
Tennessee is utilizing a “tiered course of” to allocate COVID-19 vaccine, with high precedence going to hospital staff in direct contact with coronavirus sufferers.
A field crammed with 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived sooner than anticipated Thursday morning at Parkridge Medical Heart, and the well being system began vaccinating employees round 12:30 p.m. Dr. Bob Magill, chief of employees and medical director of hospitalists at Parkridge, was the primary Chattanoogan to obtain a dose.
The vaccines arrive as Tennessee faces one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States. The historic second is a vibrant spot in a pandemic that has sickened greater than 493,000 Tennesseans and killed at the least 5,845. As of Thursday, 2,897 sufferers had been hospitalized with the virus within the state, in accordance with the Tennessee Division of Well being.
Mindy Zychal, nurse supervisor within the medical intensive care unit at Parkridge, stated this week has been particularly exhausting on her employees, who’re working across the clock to deal with critically sick COVID-19 sufferers. The vaccine will present a much-needed morale enhance, she stated.
“Yesterday alone we misplaced 4 sufferers in 24 hours, in order that was very tough,” Zychal stated minutes after receiving her vaccination.
Chattanooga well being care staff get COVID vaccine
The vaccine is voluntary, and though Zychal stated the moments main as much as getting it had been a bit “nerve wracking,” she is assured in her resolution.
“I by no means suppose twice about taking the flu shot. It is simply one thing to guard me and my sufferers and my household,” she stated. “It didn’t harm. It was superb. I am going to take Tylenol after this, although …
“I feel it is essential. Everyone within the hospital is working additional exhausting now, and the elevated workloads are demanding, so something we will do to assist,” Zychal stated.
Magill stated Thursday marks the start of a course of towards finally curbing the pandemic.
“That is nonetheless going to take a while,” Magill stated. “My hope is that everyone not solely in well being care however in the neighborhood continues to follow protecting methods to assist lower the incidence of illness. The purpose of social distancing and masks is to not eradicate it however to sluggish the unfold till we’re capable of get the vaccine out to sufficient folks.”
The first vaccines in Tennessee arrived Monday, however the state determined to maintain these as an emergency backup provide. A division of well being information launch acknowledged that about 56,550 doses of Pfizer vaccine had been anticipated to reach at 28 designated websites serving 74 hospitals throughout the state this week.
CHI Memorial Hospital and Erlanger Well being System in Chattanooga additionally acquired a vaccine cargo on Thursday and started vaccinating front-line employees.
Memorial administered its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine throughout a day information convention.
Dr. Lee Hamilton, a hospitalist at Memorial, stated he felt “an amazing sense of gratitude” upon being vaccinated.
“There are tens of millions of useless and dying that are not going to have this chance that I have been afforded at this time,” Hamilton stated. “It’s extremely humbling simply to consider what we have been by as a nation, what we have misplaced and to lastly have a possibility to begin to start to see that mild on the finish of the tunnel.”
Tiffany Dover, nurse supervisor in Memorial’s COVID-19 unit, was overcome with emotion as she recalled the issue caring for coronavirus sufferers minutes after receiving her vaccine dose. Moments later, she began feeling dizzy and fainted.
Memorial physicians who had been on website stated light-headness and fainting generally happen when present process medical procedures, akin to getting a shot or having blood drawn. A Memorial spokesperson stated Thursday night that Dover was doing properly.
The Pfizer shot requires two rounds, which suggests the folks getting the vaccines now might want to get a second shot in about three weeks.
The division of well being introduced Thursday that the primary cargo of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine — about 115,000 doses — is anticipated to reach round Dec. 21.
Moderna’s vaccine will probably be delivered to 95 Tennessee county well being departments, in accordance with a information launch from the division of well being. Smaller hospitals that aren’t receiving the Pfizer vaccine are anticipated to obtain the Moderna vaccine the week of Dec. 28.
Contact Elizabeth Fite at firstname.lastname@example.org or comply with her on Twitter @ecfite.