A shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived at 8:20 a.m. Thursday and by noon, the first vial had thawed and NorthBay Healthcare’s vaccination team was fast at work, inoculating frontline health care professionals.
First up was Infectious Disease Specialist Greg Warner, D.O., who has been caring for COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Today’s an exciting day,” said the medical director for Infection Prevention. “I’m doing this for my family, my patients and for my community. I hope I spread the good word and everyone else will do the same.”
After his vaccine, he smiled at Mandy Burke, CMA, who administered the vaccine, and asked, “Was there even a needle in there?”
Next was NorthBay’s first employee to volunteer for the injection, Brad Boyd, respiratory therapist.
“I hope to give courage to other frontline health care workers who may still be in doubt,” he said. “We’ve seen firsthand what it’s doing to our patients and it’s important for all of us in healthcare to get vaccinated.”
Three nurses – one from Intensive Care, one from Acute Care, and one from Emergency Services – did not hesitate when asked if they wanted to be in the first group.
Nina Bailey, R.N., who works on a COVID acute care unit, said “I feel it’s fine getting this injection. There is a lot of evidence behind it and no reason why everyone shouldn’t get it.”
Arnold Nelson, R.N., ICU supervisor, said he looks forward to enjoying life again and spending time with his family.
All who received the vaccine Thursday will need their second dose in 21 days.
“Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Chief Medical Officer Seth Kaufman, M.D., an Emergency Services physician. “This is the first day of a long journey to restore normalcy.”
Behind the scenes, a multidisciplinary team, under the direction of Nicole Brocato, vice president of operations and Chief Quality Officer, has been working for weeks to handle logistics and plan for the vaccine’s arrival and distribution.
“It’s been a complicated rollout, but our team has been incredible,” said Nicole. “Our Supply Chain team managed to get an ultra-low temperature freezer in place last week, which was key, enabling us to receive 975 doses this morning for NorthBay’s use,” she said.
Already 300-plus employees have signed up for the first wave of vaccinations.
“This effort speaks volumes about how our team came together to get to this point,” said Reena Patel, Pharmacy Manager. “I’m actually in awe.”