Three front-line health care workers were the first of many CHI St. Alexius employees to receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Emmanuel Fermil, nurse Kristen Renner and respiratory therapist Julie Nuss received their first doses Tuesday afternoon.
"What a historic and exciting day," CHI President Kurt Schley said before the vaccinations were given. "Today we enter a new stage of hope."
The pandemic has been a challenge for hospital staff, Chief Nursing Officer Raumi Kudrna said. “COVID-19 patients require a lot of care, and nurses and other front-line workers continue to provide care even though they're tired,” she said.
Hospital Medicine and Critical Care Director Dr. J'Patrick Fahn said he hopes the vaccine can prevent situations he's seen in which COVID-19 patients struggle for weeks before dying. "We hope to avoid the tragedies and fill that space with more triumphs," Fahn said.
“CHI St. Alexius received 600 doses of the vaccine this week and will hold vaccination clinics for its front-line staff,” Leader of Organizational Quality Jordan Weisenberger said. The hospital held its first clinic after the first three vaccinations were administered.
Nuss said she was apprehensive about getting the vaccine but decided to take it after seeing what COVID-19 does to patients. She said working as a respiratory therapist during the pandemic has been "crazy". "This has been something you can throw everything at and sometimes it just doesn't work," Nuss said.
She said that health care workers have so far been able to treat only the symptoms of the disease rather than preventing it and that hopefully the vaccine can be a "preemptive strike".
Fermil said he was one of the first doctors in the hospital to start treating COVID-19 patients. He described the vaccine as a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. "To say that we're done is not true," he said. "But to know that it's a step in the right direction is absolutely true as well."
Sam Nelson reporting
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CHI St. Alexius vaccinates frontline care workers with Pfizer COVID vaccine
CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck vaccinated three frontline workers with Pfizer’s new vaccine at 4:20 Tuesday afternoon.
Among the group was Hospital Medicine Physician Dr. Emmanuel Fermil, Registered Respiratory Therapist Julie Nuss and Registered Nurse and ICU Clinical Supervisor and Kristen Renner.
Renner says it’s been a tough year for the ICU and says getting the COVID shot makes her excited and relieved for the future. “I’m just excited to hopefully get back to a normal life where I can go see my parents and give them a hug and not worry about transferring this terrible, terrible disease,” Renner said.
CHI Bismarck received 600 doses of vaccine and plans to vaccinate hundreds of frontline workers within the week. The hospital expects to get the next shipment of Pfizer vaccines with the second required dose within 21 days.
Emmeline Ivy reporting
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CHI St. Alexius Bismarck receives first doses of COVID-19 vaccine
History is being made this week as thousands of COVID-19 vaccines are being shipped and distributed across the country. The latest shipment in Bismarck arrived Tuesday. CHI St. Alexius received a batch of 600 Pfizer vaccines and the first of its healthcare workers received the first dosage.
President and CEO Kurt Schley said because of this vaccine, we enter into a new stage of hope. Three volunteers received the “jabs,” as they were called, for the media to see.
One of those to get the vaccine, Dr. Emmanuel Fermil, encourages personal research over listening to the myths about the vaccine.
“Ask your physician, ask somebody that you know, maybe in the medical field, about how they feel about it. And ultimately at the end of the day, it is your choice whether or not you want it for yourself. But there are a lot of false claims out there, there’s a lot of myths, but again just educate yourself and do what’s best for you,” said Fermil.
The healthcare workers who interact directly with patients will receive the vaccine first, and the rest will get their “jabs” shortly after.
Lane Henkins reporting
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