St. Joseph’s/Candler administers first round of COVID-19 vaccine

St. Joseph’s/Candler administers first round of COVID-19 vaccine

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Around 250 healthcare workers got their COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning at Candler Hospital in Savannah.

St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System CEO Paul Hinchey says the hospitals will be offering the first dose of the vaccine to most of their employees over the next couple of weeks.

Candler Hospital was busy Wednesday morning as healthcare workers lined up to get their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“This tea kettle has been on boil for 9 months and now we’ve opened up the lid and the steam is coming out,” Hinchey said.

He says this past year has been tough for frontline workers as they’ve worked to take care of COVID-19 patients while also trying to protect themselves.

Interview with St. Joseph’s/Candler CEO Paul Hinchey as COVID-19 vaccinations begin

“They were the last people to hold the hand of that patient before that patient died. It’s been rough. You know this isn’t a novel or a movie. This is ground zero,” Hinchey said.

Hinchey says the hospitals should receive another batch of the vaccine by the end of this week. Starting Monday, employees must make an appointment to receive their first dose.

“We’ve staggered it, so we aren’t doing the coronary care unit all at once in case there is a reaction. So, that flight plan will happen over the next two weeks and that’s everyone in the system which is about 4,000 people,” Hinchey said.

Interview with Pulmonary Medicine manager as COVID-19 vaccinations begin

Dr. Paul Bradley and his daughter Brooke were part of the 250 healthcare workers to get their first dose at Candler Hospital on Wednesday.

After spending months overseeing one of the trials in Savannah, Dr. Bradley says he’s happy to see the progress of these vaccines.

“Pfizer has been approved, Moderna is up, and several more are coming and as fast as they’re making the vaccine, they are making the vaccine,” Dr. Bradley said.

St. Joseph’s/Candler says they expect all employees to receive their first dose by the end of the month. They’ll begin offering the second dose to employees in January.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.