FARMINGTON – San Juan Regional Medical Center received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday and began distributing shots immediately to caregivers.
The Incident Command team as well as staff members in the Pharmacy and Nursing Administration spent weeks preparing to ensure there would be safe storage and distribution before the arrival of the vaccine.
“Lots of planning went into making sure we received this vaccine. I am thankful for our staff and the collaboration we have with the health care providers at the hospital,” said Mark Winters, pharmacy manager for San Juan Regional Medical Center.
The hospital received the first two rounds of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine with 975 doses in each box. The vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius and freezers with those frigid capabilities are on-site.
“(The) plan is to administer the vaccine to our caregivers through a tiered approach,” a news release sent from the medical center said. “The second dose will be administered three weeks after the first dose.”
The vaccine is not available to the public; rather, doses on hand are specifically designated for health care workers.
“I am very humbled by the speed and efficiency that has brought this vaccine to us,” said Clinical Scholar and Nursing Education Manager Trish Maule. “This is something we desperately need, and I am thankful that our hospital has the infrastructure to be able to offer the vaccine to our caregivers this early.”
The release included information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advises wearing masks and social distancing in addition to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Our health care workers on the front line of COVID-19 having been working tirelessly since March to provide care to patients hospitalized with COVID-19. But doing so requires all the tools we have available,” said Jeff Bourgeois, San Juan Regional Medical Center president and CEO. “We are strongly encouraging our caregivers to get the COVID-19 vaccine to help protect themselves, save lives and be part of the beginning of the end to this pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccine is one more tool in our arsenal that we can use to reduce the spread of this virus and save lives.”