First batch designated for frontline healthcare workers arrived this week
Today, Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) began administering the first COVID-19 vaccines, which will be approximately 2,000 doses given over this week and prioritized for front-line health care workers and local paramedics.
The Pfizer vaccine being given to NCH employees was approved by the FDA last Friday and distributed to Illinois hospitals by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The initial supply of vaccines will be given throughout this week.
NCH President and CEO Stephen Scogna said, “This vaccine is bringing hope around the world. We are confident in both the safety and efficacy of this vaccine, which is a major step in the battle to control COVID-19. We will encourage every NCH team member to be vaccinated which, over time, will help us bring an end to the pandemic.”
As more vaccines are delivered over the coming weeks, NCH intends to make the vaccine available to every employee. The vaccine is not mandatory, but hospital leadership has a goal of 100% participation, as with the annual flu shot.
“It’s important to know that vaccination against COVID-19 does not change or negate other policies or practices to prevention transmission of COVID-19,” said Alan Loren, M.D., PhD., NCH’s Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President. “Our healthcare providers who have been vaccinated will continue to follow all infection prevention strategies and policies, including but not limited to proper use of PPE, universal masking while within any NCH facility, wearing of eye protection and physical distancing.”
“I am so proud that NCH is my hospital,” said Board Chair Mary Sheahan, M.S., R.N. “To witness this team meet the challenge of caring for two of the first COVID-19 positive patients in Illinois and then safely discharge more than 1,500 COVID-19 patients over the last 10 months is amazing. Now, to watch the intricate logistics to prepare, receive, store and distribute vaccines to healthcare workers fighting this virus is very inspiring.”
At this time, NCH does not have doses of the vaccines for patients or the general public. For the latest COVID-19 information at NCH, visit nch.org.