ROCKFORD, Illinois, December 18, 2020 – Mercyhealth is proud to announce it has successfully vaccinated over 1,900 of its health care workers in two and a half days with the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.
On December 16, Mercyhealth began administering its shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to staff at 2 pm at both its Rockton and Riverside Campuses. Today, at 4:45 PM pm, all allocated doses, including the unexpected extra doses, were successfully administered to staff. The Pfizer vaccine vials were intended to hold five doses but extra vaccine remained in each vial. Manufacturers typically overfill vaccine vials to safeguard against potential waste as part of the process with vaccinators removing vaccine from the vials.
“Mercyhealth developed comprehensive plans to safely and effectively distribute the vaccine to our staff, as vaccination is the best way to prevent infection from COVID-19,” said Don Janczak, PharmD, system director of pharmacy at Mercyhealth. “Our pharmacy and nursing staff were trained to prepare the vials of vaccines and administer them in a safe an effective manner. Their hard work and dedication helped us reach our goal of using all of the vaccine received. Today is a day to celebrate.”
Pfizer reports its vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among people who had no evidence of prior infection. Due to limited allocation, and based on federal and state guidance, the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine was given to health care workers.
While things look promising, it is important to know there are several steps to move through before a vaccine is available to the public. It is critical that we all take steps to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. As we approach the holidays, we understand how important it is to gather with family and friends but our local hospitals are caring for an increasing number of COVID-19 patients. You can help us stop the spread and reduce pressure on hospitals by wearing a mask, not gathering with people outside your household, avoid contact with people who are sick, stay six feet from others, avoid crowds, practice good hand hygiene, and if you have symptoms, stay home.
To learn more, visit mercyhealthsystem.org.