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Pivotal Moment for First Front-Line Staff to Receive COVID-19 Vaccination at Sierra View Medical Center

A glimmer of hope arrived Thursday, December 17, when Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC), received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for the initial round of immunizations from the Tulare Public Health Department. Sierra View immediately started administering to high-risk area front-line staff and physicians who have opted-in to receive the vaccination.

“We are very excited to be getting the vaccination to some of our staff today, and these are the high-risk direct care providers who are getting the Pfizer vaccine,said SVMC Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Jeffery Hudson-Covolo, DNP. “There are many healthcare workers who have been waiting for this opportunity. It will provide a level of protection for those that take the series of immunizations providing antibodies to the SARS CoV-2 virus.” 

Beginning on December 17, approximately 50 front-line healthcare workers received their vaccination and this first round of immunizations were given out to those who are identified as high-risk. The first staff member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at SVMC and one of the very first in Tulare County, is ICU Registered Nurse, Kathy Hughes, who has been serving at the bedside of patients in life-threatening situations including COVID-19 patients.

Time off for nurses is crucial, especially during these unprecedented times, but Kathy used her own personal time to get her COVID-19 vaccination. Kathy has been waiting for this day and could not be more excited and relieved to care for her patients without the extra fear. “I’m so thankful for the vaccination, which will make it so much easier to care for COVID-19 patients,” Kathy Hughes, RN said. “I think the vaccine is going to be very safe…and is needed to move forward.”

When Kathy was asked how she was feeling on the safety of the vaccine, she replied that ‘we’ve’ been making vaccines for a long time and she believes this is one of the only ways we can help stop spread this virus; and the more people that get the vaccine, the better we will be with this is the start to a solution to put an end to the pandemic.

After Kathy received the shot, she said that it didn’t hurt like a tetanus or DTaP shot and that she felt great.

Healthcare workers with direct, indirect, and no contact roles at SVMC will be stratified under the same plan to receive the vaccine as more doses become available. Just as the general population, healthcare workers are curious, cautious, and it is a personal decision to take the vaccination. This vaccination gives many SVMC employees hope to see an end to the pandemic for the year ahead. SVMC is also understanding of those who do not wish to immunize at this time.

The first round of immunizations will proceed through Monday, December 21 and because this particular manufacturer requires a second dose, it must be from the same manufacturer. The second dose timing is based on the number of days assigned by the manufacturer. A reminder is given to employees at the time they receive their first shot and there is strict compliance with the date assignment.

The hospital is hopeful that these first few allocations of the vaccination gives their front-line staff some relief and gives the community in which its serves hope. Several high-risk staff members are also optimistic to lead by example by stepping up and getting their COVID-19 shot to start fighting back against the common enemy known as the coronavirus