LIMA — The vaccine is here. Mercy Health-St. Rita’s has received close to 1,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.
“We are beyond excited. It’s the best Christmas present ever,” said Ronda Lehman, president of Mercy Health, Lima.
Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima began vaccinating some of its essential workers against COVID-19 on Monday.
“Because we received a shipment a day earlier than we’d anticipated, we’re going to try to do some yet today (Monday), but it really kicks off in the morning (Tuesday) with our vaccine clinic,” Lehman said.
Determining who will get the vaccine first has been in the works since the government approved the vaccines.
“The last week or so we have reached out to all of our front-line staff and allowed them an opportunity to express interest in getting the vaccine or not,” Lehman said “And so now those that have expressed interest in getting the vaccine are prioritized by really how close to interacting and caring for COVID patients they are.”
Those essential workers at St. Rita’s who receive the Moderna vaccine will also receive a booster shot in 28 days.
Despite receiving nearly 1,300 doses, it won’t reach everyone at St. Rita’s.
“Even this initial shipment won’t be able to cover all of our workers, but it should make a nice dent in it. And then probably well into 2021 is when we’ll be able to have enough vaccine to start offering that to the public at large,” Lehman said.
Lehman praised the front-line workers for what they’ve done to help in the pandemic.
“It’s hard to put into words to be honest because our employees have been so resilient over these past number of months, particularly the last couple of months where we’ve really been hit particularly hard in our region,” she said. “They have been selfless. They have shown up and have done incredible work.”
Lehman was asked whether she would get the vaccine soon.
“I would plan on getting it, but I will be down the line because I’m not one of our direct caregivers. I will happily allow someone who has a greater risk than myself to be vaccinated,” Lehman said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.