BUCKHANNON – Two local hospitals administered their first COVID-19 vaccines this week.
St. Joseph’s Hospital administered its first COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, Lisa Wharton, the hospital’s vice president for marketing, public relations and Foundation, said.
Wharton said St. Joseph’s Hospital, which operates under WVU Medicine, received 30 doses that were administered Tuesday, Dec. 15 for hospital and frontline staff.
“We received 30 doses to be administered today, and then we’ll be getting more next week,” Wharton said. “Next week, I believe we’re getting vaccines delivered for our long-term care residents, and I believe the National Guard is delivering those here.”
She said the vaccines received today were the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. FDA Dec. 11, and the hospital will receive the Moderna vaccine next week for nursing care residents.
“All WVU Medicine employees are eligible for the first rounds of the vaccine. We will receive an email to self-schedule, and they’re encouraging everyone to take it, but it’s not mandatory,” Wharton said. “The first employees to receive the vaccine will be those working closely with COVID-positive patients, including those in our emergency departments and in intensive care units, and then as more doses become available, WVU Medicine will expand access to additional employees.”
Wharton said the hospital was excited to receive the vaccine.
“We’re excited about it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a game-changer. The Pfizer vaccine is one that has to be stored at extremely low temperatures, so they have two have freezers: one is at Ruby and one is at Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, and they’re distributing from there.”
A press release sent from Davis Medical Center Dec. 15 stated physicians and front-line nurses also received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Randolph County. Seventy doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered at DMC as part of their phase one. According to the release, DMC hospitalist Phil Chua, D.O. was the first at DMC to receive the vaccine.
“I’m excited. I’m excited to be part of furthering a data set to show this is a safe and effective vaccine,” Chua said in the release.
The release said the director of Women’s Services at DMC, Anne Banfield, M.D., FACOG was also vaccinated today.
“The vaccine protects our healthcare workers, our patients and those at risk of COVID illness. Everyone must do their part. The vaccine won’t be available to the public until March 2021, so it’s critical that people continue wearing masks and social distancing,” Banfield said.