Memorial Health doctor explains COVID-19 vaccine after getting his first dose

COVID-19 in the Coastal Empire

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - COVID-19 vaccinations continued for the second day at Memorial Health after they got a portion from the Coastal Health District Tuesday in Georgia’s first allotment.

Dr. Stephen Thacker rolled up his sleeve Wednesday afternoon and got his COVID-19 vaccine at Memorial Health. After talking about this pandemic for months, this was a day he has waited for.

“I’m so excited not only that this is how we get to the other side of the pandemic, but it is also how we help keep our team members healthy and caring for our community as we still need to make it through some tough months to come,” explained Dr. Thacker, Director of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Health.

Memorial is not saying how many doses of the vaccine they have or how many they requested, but they do have about 3,000 hospital employees. Dr. Thacker is just one of several who have gotten the vaccine so far and they have not seen any serious adverse effects from the shot. He’s confident in the research and safety studies.

#WATCH: Memorial Health doctor discusses the COVID-19 vaccine.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

“There’s no chance that you will develop COVID-19 from getting this vaccine,” said Dr. Thacker. “What the vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna are is that they are just little snippets of information on how to make a specific protein and we give that to the cell in my example, my left arm into the muscle and those muscle cells use their own tools to make just a protein and then that is what triggers the process that leads to the protective antibody response.”

Dr. Thacker says there is a lot of misinformation about the vaccine, so he encourages you to do your research and find evidence-based answers to your questions.

Memorial Health leaders say they are expecting another shipment of vaccine this week and they plan to get weekly deliveries. The hospital will continue to inoculate their staff in a tiered manner as supplies allow. Dr. Thacker hopes to have the entire health system vaccinated by March at the latest. While the Coastal Empire was lucky to get the state’s first allotment to protect healthcare workers, this isn’t the end. We have a long way to go to reach herd immunity.

“What’s most important is what you’re local numbers look like and that where I spend the majority of my time is in Savannah, Georgia,” explained Dr. Stephen Thacker. “So, I would want and hope that at least 70% if not 80% of individuals in our community have received the vaccine and once we have reached that mark we’ve reached that point at which we can protect those individuals who can’t safely receive the vaccine.”

Until we get to that point, Dr. Thacker says just having the vaccine has brought a new sense of optimism to the staff who continue to battle the pandemic on the frontlines.

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