The Cullman Regional Medical Center administered its first coronavirus vaccine Tuesday morning. The medical center had a soft opening for its coronavirus vaccine clinic.
Donna Snow, a critical care nurse, was the first to receive the vaccine. The hospital thought it was only fitting she received the vaccine first because Snow was its first nurse to take care of a coronavirus patient when the pandemic began.
Just after 8:30 Tuesday morning, Snow rolled up her sleeve to be the first health care worker at Cullman Regional to be given the vaccine.
The coronavirus has taken a toll on all health care workers. So, Snow said she is thankful to be part of getting the virus under control.
“I was very willing, and hopefully, you know, we’re not going to see anything right away," she said. "The numbers are still going to be there when we wake up tomorrow, but eventually, I’m very optimistic that things are going to get better, and if I can be a part of making things better, I'm all for it.”
Snow hopes this will help people be less afraid of getting the vaccine when it's available to the public.
The hospital's chief medical officer, Dr. William Smith, said they currently have four staff members who can administer the vaccine. It's training more staff members for the vaccine clinic. They anticipate to give out all 1,900 doses in about 10 days.
About 15 health care workers received the vaccine on its first day. Receiving the vaccine is prioritized by individuals with a higher risk of getting the virus. Smith said the vaccine is the first step toward keeping health care workers safe.
“The most immediate benefit that I've seen from the vaccine is protection," he said. "Protecting health care providers that are on the frontline that take care of not only COVID patients, but other patients with other illnesses that still have to come to the hospital.”
The medical center plans to stagger when members in a unit receive the vaccine.
“When we vaccinate people, we are not vaccinating the entire unit at the same time," Smith said. "We’re not going to vaccinate every critical care nurse on the same day, or every hospitalist on the same day. So, we are, we are trying to level that out to minimize the impact.”
Employees can schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.
The hospital knows they will get a second dose for the people vaccinated on the first round, but they don't know when they'll receive more doses for additional staff members to get vaccinated.