CHI St. Alexius Health Williston received their first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine, with three health care providers receiving the first doses. CHI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Wayne Anderson, along with Drs. Bruce Pugatch and Curtis Small received the first does of the Moderna vaccine, which arrived at CHI around 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 22. CHI received around 300 doses of the vaccine, which will be administered to the hospital's front-line workers.
"This is a great day." said Pharmacy Director Dave Sandberg. "We've worked very hard to get to this point."
Patient Care Services VP and CHI Chief Nurse Lorrie Antos called it a "momentous day," applauding CHI's staff for their continued efforts to maintain a safe community during the pandemic. Emotion in her voice, Antos shared her excitement for the vaccine and what it means for CHI and the community.
"We have worked tirelessly to protect our community and the patients we serve. I'm so proud of the staff, the providers and our team that have worked together," she said. "Today we add another layer of safety for our patients and our staff. In immunizing our staff, allowing that extra protection, we're also protecting our patients and the community. Like every other health care facility during this pandemic, we're tired. We're ready for COVID to be over, and this is the beginning. We are so grateful."
Anderson noted that even after receiving the vaccine, it is important to continue precautionary practices such as masking, social distancing and hand-washing. The vaccine is not a cure, he stated, it is, like the flu vaccine, meant to minimize any symptoms that may occur from infection. For the foreseeable future, Anderson added, CHI would continue its restrictions on visitation, as well as maintaining its mask requirements.
Two doses of the vaccine, 28 days apart, are needed in order for the Moderna vaccine to be effective. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to have 94 to 95 percent effectiveness. Dr. Anderson stated that the general public should begin receiving the vaccine in early spring. For additional information on the distribution phases from the North Dakota Department of Health, visit www.health.nd.gov.
Mitch Melberg Reporting