BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama (RMCCA) administered its first vaccination for COVID-19 to
RMCCA Hospitalist Danny Hood, MD on Wed. Dec. 23.
Dr. Hood has worked with many coronavirus patients admitted from within Butler and surrounding counties for the past eight months and is one of many frontline defenders who will have priority access to the vaccine.
According to Valerie Heath, RN/BSN, Infection Control/Employee Health/Education director for RMCCA, Regional would follow a recommended staggered approach with the vaccinations.
Health care workers, first responders and caregivers will be given first priority for the vaccine. It is estimated it will take upward of six months for everyone who wants a vaccination to receive one.
Heath said, “They anticipate that a small percentage of workers will experience minor side effects from the vaccine that could possibly keep them out of work. We want and expect to be prepared should that happen.”
RMCCA CEO Chad French said he was pleased with the hospitals decisions and plans for distribution while following the Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines.
“Our reach and responsibility has always been broader than just Greenville or the back door of the hospital. When you get to know the hospital staff, see healthcare workers in action and hear from front line workers, you realize it really is a very large region that we serve,” said French.
He added, “These are the people that are in your community, that go to your church and school and are committed to caring for those that have healthcare needs. They understand their role and also understand if they are not there it can cause a strain on the system. We are extremely fortunate to have people that care and sacrifice to meet the healthcare needs of so many families in our area.”
Skepticism about the side and long term effects of COVID-19 vaccines is noted across a broad spectrum of the public to include health care professionals.
Several RMCCA employees noted the skepticism and offered their validation for receiving the vaccine.
Dr. Hood said, “It was painless. Having had the virus I am hopeful that this is the beginning of the end for this plaque.” He continued by encouraging people to continue to wear the mask and wash your hands.
Dr. Norman McGowin said, “Working in the ER you have to assume and treat everyone as they come in as though they have the virus. While a little apprehensive at first about taking the vaccine I realized any side effects or problems with the vaccine would be less than dealing with the effects of the actual virus. Being able to continue to work in the ER and encourage patients has been my goal and I am optimistic that the vaccine will allow me to do so during the holidays and into the New Year.”
Dr. Brandon Slagley offered, “I can personally attest the shot is no big deal, no different than the flu shot that I took recently. This is an important step toward getting past this virus and getting back to a normal way of life. Vaccines are important, getting the protection rate up to that 95% based on studies, continue to wear the mask, washing your hands and hopefully we will reach that herd immunity of 70% soon.”
Registered nurse Sharon Hall said, “Its hit me personally as I have seen family members and friends dealing with the virus. One day I’m checking on my friend and the next day they are telling me they are sorry but she had died. That motivated me to seriously consider the vaccine. The only way we can get this under control is to take it seriously and for me that meant taking the vaccine.”
What can you do to help reduce the transmission of Covid-19? ADPH recommends simple measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
- Social distance by staying six feet away from others
- Avoid people who are sick
- Stay home if you can; work remotely if possible
- Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering when around others
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
- Monitor your health
For additional prevention and treatment resources, go to https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/prevention.html