LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A member of the housekeeping staff, an intensivist, an ICU nurse, an emergency room
nursing assistant, and an emergency department physician were the first five Baptist Health Lexington employees to receive doses of a vaccine to protect against the COVID-19 virus starting at 2 p.m. Monday.
High-risk healthcare workers were given first priority for the first shipment of 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that arrived in an UPS delivery truck at the hospital’s loading dock at 9 a.m. Monday.
“This is truly a historical day, a turning point in the pandemic,” said William G. Sisson, president of Baptist Health Lexington. “We know the vaccine is vitally important to getting back to normal, in our facilities as well as the communities.”
Baptist Health Lexington is one of 11 Kentucky hospitals chosen to distribute and administer the first shipments of the vaccine.
Joy Murphy is the ICU nurse who was vaccinated Monday.
“I’m older, I’m on chemo and I have seen the devastating effects that the COVID can do to the young and old. So I’m ecstatic,” she said.
Dr. Yuri Villaran kept his message brief, but yet it was still powerful, a sign that read ‘Thank you.’
Director of Pharmacy Mike Anderson says it’s hard to win against a virus when you can only play defense.
“I think it’s been a really hard and difficult nine months for the country up to this point…But today I think represents the opportunity now to turn the table and play offense,” he said.
Anderson says Monday was a trial run for the full roll out of the remaining 970 vaccines that starts Thursday and goes into next week.
“Truly, it’s an on hand, all hands on deck endeavor to get this administered to as many of our employees as we can, as quickly as we can,” Anderson said.
And while many people don’t have access to the vaccine just yet, Nurse Murphy says it’s crucial people who might be hesitant start wrapping their mind around how important it is.
“I would say take the chance because what I always use the catch phrase of ‘you should see what we see’ because I don’t think it’s real to most people. So, if they saw what we saw, they would be lining up to take the vaccine,” Murphy said.
In total, Kentucky is expected to receive 38,025 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the first round of shipments from the
federal government. These doses are all for the initial vaccine; booster shots will be delivered approximately three weeks later. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require an initial dose and a booster dose.
The Moderna vaccine will have its hearing on Thursday. If emergency use authorization is granted, thousands of additional Moderna vaccine doses will be available, and assigned by the ACIP and CDC to be given to a certain classification of high-risk individuals.
Four Baptist Health hospitals in Kentucky — Louisville, Lexington, Corbin, and Madisonville — were chosen to receive the initial shipments of vaccine. Baptist Health Floyd has been selected to distribute the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers in three counties — Floyd, Harrison and Washington counties — by the Indiana State Department of Health.
Baptist Health, the state’s largest health system, has prepared to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers in all of its facilities by investing system-wide in freezers and other special equipment, training and devoting thousands of man-hours on vaccine planning.