First doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrive in the Tri-State

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Posted at 11:43 AM, Dec 14, 2020

The first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UC Health Monday morning and the hospital has already begun administering those doses to hospital staff and frontline workers, according to Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of UC Health.

A press release from UC Health said the hospital received the supply kits necessary for administering the vaccines on Friday. The vaccines themselves arrived Monday morning and by the afternoon, the first person to be vaccinated in Cincinnati was Katie Walz, a registered nurse working in the cardiovascular ICU at UCMC.

"I've seen a lot of people this year suffer and die and I'd like to do whatever we can to slow that process and to be an example for others to show that the vaccine is safe and worth getting," said Walz.

During Governor Mike DeWine's COVID-19 update Monday afternoon, Lofgren said the hospital has already administered the vaccine to 20 frontline workers, and have identified a total of 1,900 workers who are considered high risk due to constant contact with COVID-19 patients who will need the virus.

"We really feel that, with the first 20 that we got through, we’re going to be prepared to use the entire allotment of 975 really by Thursday of this week," said Lofgren during the governor's press conference.

Workers in the ICU and emergency departments will be the first departments to receive vaccinations at both UCMC and West Chester Hospital, UC Health said.

UC Health has received 975 doses of the vaccine along with nine other hospitals across Ohio, including the OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.

"This is an historic moment for our community, our region and the nation," said Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of UC Health, in a press release. "From the beginning, UC and UC Health have participated in finding a cure as a clinical trial site, and our healthcare workers within our hospitals have tirelessly served on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 for more than nine months. We are proud to have been selected as one of the very first healthcare systems to receive the vaccine."

In Northern Kentucky, the Edgewood and Ft. Thomas campuses of St. Elizabeth's is slated to receive doses this week as well. The NKY hospitals were slated to receive the vaccine Monday, but it was delayed. A St. Elizabeth spokesperson said they still hope to be able to administer the vaccine in Ft. Thomas on Tuesday and Edgewood on Wednesday.

Those who receive the Pfizer vaccine will also need to receive a second dose 21 days later, by Jan. 4. The shipment of secondary doses is expected to arrive later this month.