EDGEWOOD, Ky. — Some healthcare workers in Northern Kentucky received a shield in the battle against COVID-19 as St. Elizabeth Edgewood administered 20 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for those working directly with virus patients.
For those on the medical frontlines, the vaccine comes as a welcome relief -- but obstacles remain.
Kevin Martin, a hospitalist at St. Elizabeth who received one of the 20 doses, described the “wonderful” feeling to be part of history after months of tribulation.
“It's been heartbreaking,” he said. “You do what you can, and try to help people as much as you can. But it gets difficult at times.”
The highest-risk workers, those caring for symptomatic COVID-19 patients, have been doing their part to keep others and the community safe.
“It's exciting, I'm glad that it's one more thing that I'm not going to take it home to my family,” said Jack Dean-Brown, an ER technician. “One more protection. So it feels good.”
Tuesday’s first vaccinations act as a “trial day” to start small as workers figure out the best process. Pfizer's vaccine also requires a second "booster" dose for patients within weeks of the first shot.
The hospital received 975 doses total from Kentucky’s first batch of Pfizer’s vaccine, and the state expects to receive four more shipments, two from Pfizer and two from Moderna, by month's end.
"I felt like we were 'Mission Accomplished.' There was definitely some celebration here," said Suzi Francis, ambulatory pharmacy supervisor. She has been working with St. E's pharmacy leadership team to educate the community about vaccines.
“If we can keep our hospital workers healthy, then it'll be a major win for the rest of the community,” she said.
While she's aware of the hesitation some might have to get the vaccine, she still believes in the science and research done over the past few months.
“I definitely will be getting it,” Francis said. “There's nothing in history that has reduced illness or kept us healthier than vaccines. This is just one more step in modern medicine.”
Hospital workers hope that the vaccine will soon close the book on COVID-19.
“Hopefully getting things back to some resemblance of normal," Martin said.