The first six healthcare workers at Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis received the first doses of the COVID19 vaccine Thursday night. The hospital system anticipates roughly 800 more healthcare workers will receive the shot Friday when the vaccine clinic opens.
The group of six employees receiving the vaccine first is made up of a doctor, respiratory therapist, ICU nurses, a pharmacist and an environmental services associate who delivers critical supplies around the hospital. For ICU Nurse Rebecca Davidhizar, getting the vaccine is a full-circle moment.
Davidhizar cared for the first COVID19 patient at Ascension St. Vincent in early March.
“It was overwhelming,” Davidhizar said. “It was scary, you know, we didn’t know a whole lot about it. He was very scared. The patient was very scared.”
Davidhizar considers this vaccine an important step in the process of caring for people.
“We do all of this for you guys,” Davidhizar said. “Our patients, our family, our friends, our co-workers, our community and it just feels like the right thing to do for all of you guys.”
Angela Porter, a respiratory therapist, could not wait to get the first dose of the vaccine. She told FOX59 all the staff is exhausted after enduring the last ten months.
“This virus is so scary,” Porter said. “We can have patients that will be talking to us, totally doing fine within an hour we’re putting a breathing tube in them.”
Dr. Christopher Belcher, the Ascension St. Vincent’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention, said his main concern now is combatting skepticism surrounding this vaccine.
“I get worried when people are skeptical about vaccines,” Belcher said. “They really are held to the highest standard of safety because they’re given to well people. Vaccines are very safe but they’re not perfect. I haven’t seen any side effects out of this vaccine that I haven’t seen with other vaccines that we give to people all the time.”
Belcher reiterated his confidence in the safety of the vaccine.
“I haven’t seen any short cuts in the study and the number of people or the duration,” Belcher said. “As someone that looks at vaccine studies all the time, these studies were bigger than some of the other vaccine studies that have been done in adults in the last 10 years. These are very good studies. When people say, ‘why did we get it so fast?’ It’s cutting through the fat and the red tape. We’re not sitting on things; we’re not waiting for reviews. People are very motivated to get the approval.”