December 22, 2020
UPMC Cole Frontline Workers Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations
In a historic moment that many hope will mark the “beginning of the end” of the pandemic, UPMC Cole vaccinated several front-line health care workers with the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine today. It is anticipated that UPMC Cole will be able to provide a vaccine to all its front-line health care workers who wish to receive it by the end of January.
“Working in the intensive care unit here at UPMC Cole, I see how this virus affects our patients, the grief that it brings to their family members, and the toll it’s taking on my colleagues,” said Amy Hewitt, RN, ICU, UPMC Cole. “I’ll do whatever it takes to help in this battle against the virus. I hope that by getting the vaccine, I can show that’s it’s safe and effective so that others are encouraged to consider it when it’s available to them.”
In accordance with state and federal distribution guidelines for prioritizing who receives these still-limited vaccines, UPMC began vaccinating its health care workers after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer product and CDC issued updated guidelines.
“Our staff have been tirelessly working on the frontlines of this pandemic for months and this vaccine brings a new hope for us — hope that as we’re dealing with a pandemic full of pain and suffering there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Emily Bunnell, MSN, director of nursing, UPMC Cole. “I admire their courage and the example we’re setting every day as we continue to answer the call and do whatever it takes to ensure the highest quality care is delivered to every patient who comes through our doors.”
UPMC hospitals and long-term care facilities across Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland are awaiting thousands of doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are expected to arrive in the coming weeks. The vaccination program for UPMC’s health care workers is voluntary. While the general public will not be able to receive vaccinations in this initial phase, the shots will be made available to the communities UPMC serves as soon as possible.