SGMC and South Health District prepare for vaccine arrival

SGMC and South Health District prepare for vaccine arrival

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Since early November, Lowndes County has seen about 800 new COVID cases. Health officials are concerned, but they hope the vaccines arriving soon in the county will help with the issue.

“It’s like an early Christmas present. We are so thankful it is here especially with numbers rising at the rate that they are within our district,” said Kristin Patten with the South Health District.

Vaccine preps at SGMC
Vaccine preps at SGMC (Source: WALB)

She tells us when the vaccines arrive, it’ll be administered to staff and then health care workers.

CVS Pharmacy will locally service nursing homes with the vaccines after. Next on the list will be essential workers and first responders.

Then those 65 and older and so on.

Patten says the health district is following a tier system the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices sent.

For now, vaccines will be provided at health departments for the initial tier groups.

Once vaccines are available for the public, drive-thru plans are an option.

South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) is also waiting for the vaccines.

“I feel like I’m part of history, and part of a powerful movement to fight this awful disease,” said Judy Vickers, a nurse at the hospital.

The 5th floor of the hospital was initially an Intensive Care Unit and it was transformed into an employee vaccination area.

And to provide monitoring for a few minutes after.

Vickers will be one of the first nurses to get it and then administer it to others. She tells us those administering it had to prepare and learn a lot about it.

The vaccine is unique when it comes to storing and giving. She’s reviewed information from both the manufacturers and the CDC. The hospital’s pharmacist has also kept them up to date with updates.

One of SGMC’s traveling nurses already received it.

“I felt like it was important for me to get the vaccine for my family can consider it. There are so many people that are afraid to take it and take the chance because it’s so new. I felt like it was very important to do it and I was able to share the story with my friends and a lot of them are going to get the vaccine now,” said Quiana Dorcelus.

She is assigned to the COVID Unit at UF’s Health Shands and SGMC.

On Wednesday, the vaccine was offered for frontline employees at Shands and she was one of the first to get it.

She tells us, at first she had some doubts but she decided it was best for her and her family.

Working in the COVID Unit, she says she weighed the odds and thought it was safer and it helps decrease the risk of contracting the virus.

She says they first did a screening to make sure she was eligible to receive it.

They let her pick the arm and she says it didn’t hurt.. it was like receiving a regular vaccine.

So far she hasn’t experienced any type of symptom.

SGMC has had a great response from staff, they have about 10 -20 employees each hour scheduled.

The South Health District expects the vaccines on Friday.

Vaccine preps at SGMC
Vaccine preps at SGMC (Source: WALB)

Copyright 2020 WALB. All rights reserved.