HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and its physician partner, Prevea Health, today began administering the first round of COVID-19 vaccines allotted to them by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) for frontline health care workers.
“It is so wonderful to be at a point in this pandemic where there’s hope that this vaccine is the beginning of the end,” said Sandy Anderson, interim president and CEO, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. “By receiving this lifesaving vaccine, our frontline health care workers will be able to continue caring for all who need them now and after we’ve made it through this pandemic.”
The first round of vaccines is being provided to a number of frontline health care workers at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and Prevea Health, including those who work in areas such as urgent cares and critical care units. The first to receive a vaccination was Michelle Willcutt, a nurse educator and critical care nurse who provides direct care to some of the most vulnerable patients, including those with COVID-19.
“This is the light at the end of tunnel that we all need,” said Michelle. “We still have a long road ahead of us, but we finally have something tangible to show the world that we are going to get past this pandemic.”
Dr. Carolyn Hellman, an emergency room physician at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital was the first physician to be vaccinated, followed by her emergency room colleague and Prevea Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ken Johnson.
“At this point we’re able to actually do something to prevent the disease rather than just reacting to it,” said Dr. Johnson. “This is a very safe and effective vaccine to protect our communities and our families and our neighbors, so I really encourage people to get this vaccine when it’s available to the public.”
Additional frontline health care workers at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls and Prevea Health locations in western Wisconsin will be vaccinated in the coming days and weeks, and as more allotments of the COVID-19 vaccine become available from DHS.