Hospital systems begin COVID vaccinations for frontline employees
Aspirus, Ascension, and Marshfield Clinic Health Systems all plan for vaccination rollout
Tina L. Scott
All three of the hospital systems serving the central Wisconsin area–Aspirus, Ascension, and Marshfield Clinic Health Systems–sent out press releases last week, with updates on their plans for COVID-19 vaccinations. Essentially, they verified what has already been communicated to the public: the COVID-19 vaccine will be in limited supply initially, and frontline health care workers will be the first to receive vaccinations. Some frontline health care workers in the Marshfield system, some in the southeast Wisconsin region of the Ascension Wisconsin system, and some in Michigan in the Aspirus system, have already received shipments of the vaccine and been vaccinated. But as expected, initial supplies of the vaccine did not meet the demand. Facilities did not receive enough doses for all employees who wish to be vaccinated. All of the hospital systems are following CDC guidelines to provide the vaccine first to those employees who are at the highest risk. This includes those who regularly provide care to patients with COVID-19, particularly those serving in emergency departments, COVID-19 units, and intensive care units. Residents of long-term care facilities and their care providers and Emergency Medical Services personnel will also be a high priority.The number of people eligible to receive the vaccine will grow as vaccine supplies allow.
Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of the Marshfield Clinic Health System, acknowledged supplies will initially be limited, but she is hopeful quantities of the vaccine will increase in the days and weeks to come. “While we know it will take time to distribute this vaccine across the country, having even a limited amount in hand creates an unmistakable feeling of hope that we could end this pandemic in the coming months,” Turney said.
It is anticipated the vaccine will not be available in large enough quantities to begin providing vaccinations to community members for several months. Area hospitals and healthcare providers will make future announcements to advise when the public can begin making appointments to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In the meantime, experts recommend staying the course. “As we await widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, it will be critical for our entire community to continue wearing masks, watching distance from others and washing hands frequently to protect ourselves and those around us,” said Mark Banas, DO, Medical Director of Emergency Services and Medical Staff President, Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital, Rhinelander.
It is also vitally important that people should seek care for emergencies when emergencies arise. Don’t let COVID-19 be the reason not to seek emergency medical care when warranted. Timely emergency care saves lives.