Ascension St. Vincent Receives, Administers First COVID-19 Vaccines

The hospital is the second in Evansville to get doses of the Pfizer vaccine, receiving 975 Thursday, before vaccinating its first six front line healthcare workers.

Posted: Dec 17, 2020 11:00 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2020 2:38 AM

The light at the end of the tunnel is now a little bit brighter for medical staff at Ascension St. Vincent in Evansville.

Receiving 975 doses Thursday, it's the second hospital in the city to get its first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

A spokesperson for the hospital system told 44News that they administered the first shots to six front line healthcare workers just hours after the doses were received. 

Among the six vaccinated were a pulmonologist, nursing supervisor in the emergency department, director of respiratory care and the hospital's only chaplain allowed to visit COVID-19 patients.

"It's been scary for everybody and I've seen some of my colleagues get infected and I'm hoping this will help protect us all and protect our communities and our families," said Dr. Roger Johnson, the hospital's ICU Medical Director and critical care physician.

The first round set the stage for the hospital's vaccination process beginning Friday morning.

Hospital staff worked for months to set up a vaccine clinic where healthcare workers will go to receive their vaccine shots.

Starting at the check in table, registered healthcare workers will go to vaccination stations, receive the shot (the experience 44News has been told is similar to getting the flu shot) move to a waiting area and stay there for about 15 minutes in case any immediate side effects kick in.

It's roughly a 20-minute process that could bring us one step closer to beating a nearly year long pandemic.

"I didn't even notice the shot going in, it was easy," Director of Respiratory Care Dr. Brian Kessler said. "If we all do this hopefully we'll have a brighter future come this spring."

For these healthcare workers battling the virus from the front lines, the vaccine is a beacon of hope after a devastating year.

"We've had a lot of sick patients in the ER, a lot of sick patients who couldn't see their family members when they would come and they were isolated from them," said Jordan York, a nursing supervisor in the emergency department. "So if we can get this now, we can hopefully link families back with their loved ones when they are in the need of that."

With hospitals now realizing each vial can produce six instead of five previously expected doses, Ascension St. Vincent could be able to vaccinate more than 100 additional healthcare workers. 

Two hundred and sixty hospital staff are registered to receive the vaccine Friday. 

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It was another chilly start across the Tri-State; while we only dipped as low as 43° in Evansville, many others across the Tri-State fell into the upper 30s earlier this morning. The cool air didn't linger long however, temperatures quickly reached back into the mid 70s across the region this afternoon - higher pressure camped out over the southeastern quarter of the country will continue to keep the skies above the Tri-State clear while gradually driving temperatures higher over the next few days. Despite our anticipated southerly winds this evening, you may still want to grab a jacket before your head out to dinner; after seeing a temperature near 64° around dinnertime, we'll fall off toward the mid to upper 50s by 10 o'clock. Overnight lows will again dwindle into the mid to low 40s for the majority of the Ohio Valley early Tuesday morning.
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