COVID-19 VACCINATION BEGINS
CAREGIVERS AGREE THE INOCULATION IS #WORTHIT
Wearing a mask. Watching your distance. Washing your
hands. These actions are important to prevent the spread of
COVID-19. In fact, Valley Health's media campaign reminds
us that families, neighbors, healthcare workers, schools, and
businesses-and our community at large-are #Worthlt.
And now we have added getting a COVID vaccination to
the list of "worth it" preventive actions!
After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized
the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Valley Health
received its first batch on December 15. Within hours of
delivery, the vaccines were given to front-line caregivers,
including Frank Lewis, MD, the first to receive it at Winchester
Medical Center. "It's like an early Christmas gift," he
enthused while local news outlets covered the historic event.
Under the guidance of Valley Health's COVID-19 Vaccine
Committee and using guidelines from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local agencies
in Virginia and West Virginia, Valley Health developed an
implementation plan that addressed storage and delivery,
logistics, inoculation, community-wide communication, and
more, all on a relatively brief timeline.
"We are incredibly excited to see the beginning of the
end of this pandemic," said Valley Health Vice President of
Population Health Jeffrey Feit, MD. "None of this happens by
accident, and the work our team has done is nothing short of
Physicians, nurses and other staff in patient care received
the first doses, which are followed by a required second dose.
It was an emotional experience for many. Some whooped with
joy, while others cried tears of relief.
Greg Byrd, MD, vice president of medical affairs for Valley
Health Southern Region hospitals, said he was "putting his
arm where his mouth is" when he rolled up his sleeve on the
first day of the inoculations. Dr. Byrd was joined by caregivers
at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, including Barbie Oates,
medical technologist, who said getting the shot was worth
it because she has four grandchildren, and she "wants to be
healthy and safe for them."
Like vaccines for polio, chickenpox and measles, the
COVID vaccine holds the promise of protecting millions of
people from the deadly virus. As our country hit another
grim milestone in December, surpassing 300,000 deaths from
COVID, we have entered a new phase in the fight as vaccination
becomes more widely available in our community.
And thanks to the vaccines, we hope that we will celebrate
the next new year in a more traditional fashion, welcoming
2022 surrounded by friends and family, face to face. It will be
Visit valleyhealthlink.com/COVID for information on
vaccines and other resources in the fight against COVID-19.
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