Today, January 7, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital began administering the second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The second dose of this vaccine is given 21 days after the first dose.
The first hospital colleague to receive the second vaccine dose was Becky Kistner, RN, who works on the hospital’s medical/surgical care floor. Kistner was also the first to receive the first dose on December 17. The first physician to receive the second dose of the vaccine was Dr. Sheera Lall, an emergency department provider, who was also the first provider on December 17. All of the vaccines were administered smoothly and safely.
HSHS St. Anthony’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Jennings shared, “The administration of these second doses is just as important as the first doses we gave a few weeks ago. The second dose is critical to achieve the level of protection that was seen in the trials. Without it, our goal of halting the pandemic will not be successful without completing the series,” he said. “When the vaccines are offered to the community, we urge people to make sure they get both doses.”
These second doses were once again provided to the hospital by the Jasper County Health Department as St. Anthony’s was the only surrounding hospital in their area that did not receive the first round of vaccine shipments in mid-December. Additionally, a number of Jasper County residents are clinical colleagues at the hospital.
Kistner shared that her reaction to the first vaccine was very mild, with just a sore arm, and she was eager to get the second dose. “I am glad to get this second dose to feel safer around my patients as I am caring for them,” she said.
At this time, Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is not requiring its colleagues to receive the vaccination, although they are recommending to colleagues and the community to receive the vaccine when it is available to them.
“As soon as the vaccines became available to us from the Jasper County Health Department and subsequently by the Effingham County Health Department, our team has effectively and efficiently set-up and conducted vaccination clinics in our ministry,” said Dr. Jennings. “We couldn’t be prouder of the coordination and teamwork done to ensure the careful yet rapid immunization of our colleagues, medical staff and local health care providers who chose to be immunized to help protect themselves and their patients.”
Until the pandemic is over, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital still encourages people to do their part to decrease the number of COVID cases in the area by continuing with diligent hand washing, social distancing, masking and staying home if you are not feeling well. The hospital is also encouraging you to not delay your doctor’s appointments, screenings and visits to the emergency room in emergent situations.
PHOTO CAPTION: Rebecca Kistner, RN, from HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s medical/surgical care department, receives her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Anthony’s. Sarah Schumacher, RN, emergency department facilitator, administered the vaccination.