Deaconess President Dr. James Porter addressed media and hospital personnel on Dec. 16, 2020, as a small white cart carrying the newly created vaccine rolled in front of the crowd.
“These are people seeing COVID patients on the frontline every day and we thank them and are very excited to see them receive this historic vaccine,” he says. “We hope people look to these examples and know the vaccine is a better option [than COVID].”
When Deaconess received their first shipment of 900 doses on Dec. 15, they opened one vial — which contains five doses — and practiced the vaccination process on five unnamed frontline workers.
Another 900 doses were delivered to the hospital later that week, allowing many more volunteers to be vaccinated. Dr. Gina Huhnke, medical director for the Emergency Department and Medical Affairs, explained the safety of the vaccine, despite the quick timeline and many unknowns of COVID.
“This vaccination uses your own body to build antibodies against the Coronavirus so that the virus cannot attack you,” she says. “This vaccination produces an antibody against the spike protein which allows entry into the body’s cells. So, unless the spike protein mutates, which is a possibility but not as probable as other mutations, we’ll have a vaccination against many different varieties of coronavirus.”
The Pfizer vaccination requires two doses and volunteers had scheduled their second shot for early January.