MIRAMAR, Fla. – Tuesday marks Day 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations for Memorial Healthcare System frontline workers, with the hospital saying it can inoculate 120 staff members each hour.
“They’re tired. Some of them are working their fourth and fifth 12-hour shifts a week and they’re ready for this to be over,” Chief Nursing Executive Maggie Hansen said of the long battle against the virus.
Nearly 20,000 doses of the new coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer arrived Monday morning to the Memorial Healthcare System in Broward. Jackson Memorial in Miami-Dade was receiving their first shipment Tuesday.
The packages of vials are carefully placed into extra-cold deep freezers where they wait to be administered to critical care workers.
“That’s medical staff, nursing staff and any clinician or worker at risk for either contracting COVID-19 from a patient or spreading it to a patient,” Dr. Thomas Macaluso, Memorial’s interim chief medical officer, explained. “So that’s that first target.”
The Memorial group is among five healthcare systems in the state chosen to get the first wave of Pfizer vaccines, which were just approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week.
Frontline worker LaTanya Forbes was among the first in South Florida to get the shot.
“It was actually better than when I got the flu shot,” she said. “No pain, no reaction. I didnt’ even feel it at all.”
Memorial Healthcare System says it anticipates vaccinating half of its employees and donating any unused vials to community hospitals and partners.
The shots are not required of employees, but they are strongly recommended.
This round of vaccines is only one of two. Recipients will need to get a second shot in about three weeks.