Jessica Bass, R.N., an ICU nurse who has been on the frontlines working with COVID-19 patients since March, was the first vaccine recipient.
Forrest General Hospital Employees Begin Receiving
Hattiesburg, Miss. (December 15, 2020) Forrest General Hospital employees are receiving COVID-19 vaccines beginning today. The hospital is distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine which includes two doses to achieve maximal effectiveness of the vaccine. The second dose will be administered in three weeks, anywhere from 19 to 23 days following the first dose.
This initial shipment of 195 vials, which is the equivalent of 975 doses of the vaccine, has been prioritized for two groups: front-line healthcare workers and long-term care facility patients. After these groups have the opportunity to receive the vaccine, the remaining cohorts will be offered the vaccine in the recommended order. These groups and the order of the cohorts, were specified by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Forrest Health hospitals do not require employee vaccination for COVID-19 vaccine. Educational information was provided to employees to help them make an informed decision. Although the vaccine is optional for staff, the hospital encourages them to consider taking it. According to Stephen Farrell, MD, Chief Medical Officer, “Although it is not required, like the influenza vaccine, we do encourage staff to consider taking it. We’ve provided as much information as possible to our employees so they can make their own informed and educated decision about taking the vaccine.” He added, “I, personally, believe it is better to deal with any possible short term side-effects and be vaccinated than to not be vaccinated and end up being diagnosed with COVID-19, which could be life-threatening or at the very least, potentially spread to others.”
In anticipation of receiving the vaccine, Forrest General took a proactive approach and ordered an ultra-low freezer specifically for this vaccine. It is kept between -80 to -60 degrees C (-112 to -76 degrees F). Protective equipment must be worn to open and remove the vials.
For more information regarding the vaccine, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect.html