MANSFIELD — Among those to receive the COVID-19 vaccine this week was Sarah Morgan, MD, of OhioHealth Physician Group Pulmonary in Mansfield, who received her first dose at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
Morgan is one of the pulmonologists/critical care specialists working directly with COVID-19 patients at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital.
“I'm honored and thrilled to be one of the first Mansfield providers to receive the vaccine,” Morgan said after receiving the vaccine. “As an ICU (intensive care unit) physician, I see firsthand the devastating impact this disease has had on the community, the patients, and the hospital staff, and I'm hopeful that the vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel for us all.
“I'm extremely hopeful for the future now that the vaccine is available. I know we will still have some rough months ahead of us, but the vaccine, for me, is a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark year that has seen too much sickness and death in our community as well as nationally and internationally.”
In the coming days, the vaccine will be delivered to OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, which will be administered in a phased schedule, based on supply, to additional OhioHealth providers and associates.
“We are very excited about this next step in the battle against the deadly COVID-19 diseases,” said Gavin Baumgardner, DO, vice president of medical affairs at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital and OhioHealth Shelby Hospital. “We have worked together at OhioHealth to get the vaccine, to plan for our staff to get vaccinated, and to continue to care for our patients at the very highest levels.
"Our staff has answered the call, they have worked tirelessly to save lives, and now this vaccine is for them, to keep them healthy as the battle against COVID-19 continues.”
Following FDA approval for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, OhioHealth received its first doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15. In total, nearly 2,000 doses had been delivered to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus and OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens. Both hospitals were deemed prepositioning sites in Ohio.
OhioHealth invested in additional, ultra-low temperature storage freezers to store potentially hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital when they become more readily available.
OhioHealth began administering the vaccine to staff Wednesday morning. The vaccine was administered first to front line teams in hospitals, starting with a pilot group at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. The plan is to administer the vaccine next to the highest risk group first, which includes those with direct patient contact within the hospital setting.
The next phase will be vaccinations for those with moderate risk including OhioHealth Physician Group associates, rehabilitation, imaging. Phase three will be to vaccinate all OhioHealth associates and staff. All phases will be dependent on vaccine supply.
“As infectious disease experts, we have known that for the tide to turn in this tremendous battle with a very deadly disease we needed a vaccine, and now we are starting the next phase in saving lives,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, medical director of infectious diseases at OhioHealth. “This is the most critical moment we have been waiting months for. We believe after going through the rigor of testing and trials, just at an accelerated pace, this vaccine is safe.”