Trinity Health System Begins COVID-19 Vaccinations for Front Line Caregivers
December 23, 2020 – Earlier today Trinity Health System began vaccinating front line caregivers with the COVID-19 Vaccine with support from the Jefferson County Health Department. This first round was offered voluntarily to fifty employees who are likely to be working with patients diagnosed with the virus. The group included employees from nursing, environmental services, transport services, emergency room physicians and medical residents to name a few.
Jennifer Davis, Director of the Pharmacy at the health system stated “Cooperation with our local health department has been essential in making sure we could begin the vaccination process as soon as possible.”
Employees and physicians interviewed after receiving the vaccination had a similar message for our community. James Middleton, Chief Nursing Officer, compared the vaccination to the polio vaccine of years ago. “When we were younger, we had to have the polio vaccine prior to beginning school. Many people were concerned about that vaccine as well, but it has eliminated polio in most instances.” Middleton continued “This vaccine is truly showing human kindness to our friends and family. By taking the vaccine, we are protecting the most vulnerable and increasing immunity in our community.”
Now that the FDA has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, most hospitals and health departments will begin to make the vaccine available. An Emergency Use Authorization means that the vaccine can be distributed and administered immediately. A separate authorization will be issued for each vaccine developed. Several vaccines are in development.
Both of the vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine doses must be administered 21 days apart, and the Moderna vaccine doses must be administered three or four weeks apart.
Initially, only a small number of doses of the vaccines are available. Federal guidance indicates that health care workers should receive the vaccine first, along with a few other high-risk groups, including first responders and employees/patients in long-term care facilities. As more supply of the vaccine becomes available, more groups will be eligible to receive it. We expect that the vaccine may be widely available to everyone by spring or summer 2021.
“Although we are confident that the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks, there is much we still won’t know, including how long the vaccine protects against COVID-19,” said Dr. John Columbus, Director of the Emergency Physician group at Trinity Health System. “Because this is a new vaccine, we do not have data on long-term safety. We also do not know how the virus may change in the future, or whether this vaccine may protect against virus mutations.”
While healthcare professionals wait for the vaccine to be widely available, it is important that everyone continues to follow CDC guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please remember to wash your hands regularly, always wear face coverings in public, and follow social distancing guidelines and government quarantine directives.
About Trinity Health System: Trinity Health System provides care to a service area of just over 200,000 individuals. Accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, a member of the American Hospital Association, Voluntary Hospitals of America and the Catholic Hospital Association, Trinity Health System offers a full array of acute and outpatient services on three campuses. Trinity Health System has a Medical Group Enterprise with primary care and specialty providers located throughout the service area.
Trinity Health System is part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthier communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2018, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of $29.2 billion and provided $4.2 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at commonspirit.org.