LIMA — It felt like an ordinary flu shot to Suzy Troyer. But the Moderna vaccine she received Tuesday morning is the first step for Troyer to develop immunity to the coronavirus, so she can continue seeing patients in the COVID-19 units at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
Troyer, a registered nurse and supervisor of St. Rita’s pediatric unit and one of the hospital’s COVID-19 units, didn’t feel uneasy or experience an allergic reaction after she became one of the first healthcare workers in Allen County and Ohio to receive the vaccine since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to Moderna last week.
Instead, Troyer felt like she was taking on an active role in history as she joins 1,300 St. Rita’s colleagues who will take part in the first round of vaccinations at the hospital.
“To see an end in sight with the hope that this vaccine brings, to be part of that is just truly something special,” she said.
The hospital reported no adverse effects among those who received their first doses of the vaccine Tuesday morning as it embarked on what will be a weeks-long process.
Lima Memorial Health System will give vaccines to employees Wednesday. Frontline caregivers, including physicians, nurses, laboratory and radiology technologists, respiratory therapists and environmental services team members, will be among the first to receive the vaccine there.
The Putnam County Health Department acknowledged it received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine via its Facebook page. It’s working to vaccinate people in the nation’s “Phase 1A” early next week, which includes health-care professionals and long-term care facility residents.
The Ohio Department of Health on Tuesday announced that another 90,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected on December 24, which is roughly 20,000 more doses than the state originally expected by that date.
Another 70,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine should arrive later this week too, which will be sent to hospitals that have not yet received their first allotment of vaccines.
Mercy Health-Lima staff started registering to take part in the vaccination program when the first shipment arrived on Monday.
Priority was given to front-line healthcare workers who are most exposed to COVID-19 patients, many of whom were already registered by Tuesday morning, according to St. Rita’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Matthew Owens.
A second shipment of booster vaccines, or a second dose of the Moderna vaccine to generate immunity against the virus, is expected sometime within the next 28 days. It is unclear when additional vaccines for those who didn’t make it into the first round will arrive.
“Our strategy is similar to the strategy on an airplane — where you always put your own oxygen mask on before you help those around you — was to get this vaccine and be able to inject and vaccinate those who are closest to the bedside and then slowly step away from there to cover our entire workforce,” Owens said.