Hundreds of frontline healthcare workers at The University of Toledo Medical Center received their first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, Dec. 23, marking an important step in our community’s fight against the virus.
“Getting the vaccine feels like my responsibility to set an example for others,” said Pierre Maldonado, a registered nurse who works in the medical intensive care unit and was among the first employees to receive his vaccine. “It’s a start to the beginning of the end. I went through COVID in May and was in the hospital for nine days. I don’t want to go through that again.”
UTMC received its first allocation of the vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 22, following weeks of planning from a multidisciplinary team to ensure a smooth, safe rollout.
“This is a really important day for all of us at UTMC,” said Dr. Michael Ellis, chief medical officer at UTMC and an infectious disease specialist. “Our first objective throughout the pandemic has been to keep ourselves safe so we have providers and staff to care for sick people who come to our hospital. Vaccines are a cornerstone for that. The Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine are both about 95% effective, which is a highly effective vaccine.”
Following guidance issued by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health, the University first offered vaccines to healthcare personnel in the UTMC Emergency Department and those providing direct care to COVID-19 patients.
“I think it’s important to get the vaccine for the safety of our patients and the community,” said Katie Jesse, a registered nurse who works in the medical intensive care unit. “Getting the vaccine is my duty as a nurse. It’s a way of giving back to society.”
Both COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use require two doses to provide full immunity. The Moderna vaccine is repeated on day 28.
Even as individuals begin to receive their second doses, Ellis said it’s important that everyone remain diligent in wearing masks and other personal protective equipment in the months to come as the vaccine is rolled out to more and more Americans.