Mount Nittany Health administered its first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations to Mount Nittany Medical Center direct care staff last Friday, December 18.
The health system received approximately 1,000 vaccines that were administered to hospital employees over the course of several days.
Mount Nittany Health's Chief Medical Officer Nirmal Joshi, MD, FACP, lead the effort and said that while receiving the vaccination is voluntary for Mount Nittany Health providers and staff, it is strongly encouraged. Feedback from a staff survey suggested that most of the staff intend to be vaccinated.
Those vaccinated will receive their second dose of the COVID-19 inoculation 21 days after their first injection, as indicated by Pfizer.
Emily Shearer, RN, who works in critical care services at the Medical Center was one of the first healthcare providers to be immunized. “I cannot express how excited I am that the vaccine has been developed and that we are one step closer to ending this pandemic,” she said. “I work with COVID positive inpatients on almost every one of my shifts at the hospital, so I am beyond thankful to have received this additional line of protection not only for me, but also for my family that I go home to every day.”
“This is a milestone day and we’re all incredibly hopeful that this is the beginning of the end of this pandemic,” said Chief Medical Officer, Nirmal Joshi, MD, FACP. “We’ve all waited so long for this glimmer of hope, and we couldn’t ask for a better gift this holiday season.”
Dr. Joshi added that the health system is strongly encouraged by FDA clinical trial findings that the vaccine offers nearly full protection against virus symptoms after receiving both doses.
“We’re excited that the vaccine is here,” he said. “But this isn’t over yet. It’s going to be a while before everyone can be vaccinated, so please keep wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and social distancing.”
Added Shearer, “Please, for all of us working the front lines during this time, until we are able to vaccinate more people and build an immunity to this virus, we need you to be responsible and continue to practice known COVID safety measures.”
The Mount Nittany Health Foundation established the COVID-19 Response Fund to support Mount Nittany Health’s work in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The fund supports patient care, including testing, medication, medical supplies, and staff support. Further, the fund is designed to provide assistance as needs emerge and continue to be identified. You can learn more about the COVID-19 Response Fund here.