SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Dr. Stephen Thacker, Memorial Health’s pediatric infectious disease doctor and associate chief medical officer, got his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday. It was the first day healthcare workers in the peach state could get the vaccine after the shipment arrived on Dec. 14.
Dr. Thacker says getting the shot was a big deal for him.
“I think this is really what it takes to get to the other side of the pandemic,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, Associate Chief Medical Officer. “So, I am super excited both for myself, but also for my community if it means I won’t be a vector to spread it to other people.”
A big day in Chatham County as the first Georgians got their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Thacker says after his first shot he has soreness at the injection site that later went away. He expects that to happen again after this second dose. He says it’s actually an encouraging sign that the vaccine is working to build immunity which the second dose will help reach 95% effectiveness.
While the first few people will get their second dose, others are still signing up for their first inoculation. So far, Memorial has vaccinated about 2,000 coworkers, but it’s still not everyone and they have seen some hesitancy.
“The adoption from the healthcare workers has been a little slow,” said Thacker. “And so, we’ve really taken that as a challenge to make sure we’re sharing evidence based communication with our team members. Many of our leaders as well as those that are champions in their own right working as bedside nurses, or working as a respiratory therapist, or working in environmental services really sharing their story with their team members to increase that excitement and engagement with getting the vaccine because it’s not where we would like to be.”
Dr. Thacker says he believes the vaccine timeline will eventually speed up, but for those who are otherwise healthy they may not be vaccinated until the end of 2021.
When it comes to administering the vaccine locally he says Memorial Health is already planning ways they can assist public health with inoculations in the expanded phases.