COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Underway at Marion General, Jefferson Davis, and Walthall General Hospitals
Emergency Room physician, Kent Kyzar, MD, at Walthall General Hospital was first in line Tuesday for his COVID-19 vaccination.
Hattiesburg, Miss. (December 30, 2020) Employees at Forrest Health’s western hospitals -- Marion General Hospital in Columbia, Jefferson Davis Community Hospital in Prentiss, and Walthall General Hospital in Tylertown -- started receiving COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday, December 29. The hospital is distributing the Moderna (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine which includes two doses to achieve maximal effectiveness. The second dose will be administered 28 days following the first dose. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is not required to be kept at ultra-cold temperatures.
This initial shipment of 100 doses of the vaccine for each facility has been prioritized for two groups: front-line healthcare workers and long-term care facility patients. After these groups have the opportunity to receive the vaccine, the remaining cohorts will be offered the vaccine in the recommended order. These groups and the order of the cohorts, were specified by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Marion General Emergency Room Medical Director Cindy Armstead, DO, was excited to receive the hospital’s first vaccine. “Receiving the vaccine brought forth solemn remembrance of the more than 300,000 American fatalities from COVID-19 this year for whom a vaccine was not yet an option,” said Armstead. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the first wave. As a healthcare provider, I hope to both demonstrate my trust in the safety of the vaccine, as well as inspire all members of our community to do so for our nation’s recovery.”
At Walthall General, Emergency Room physician, Dr. Kent Kyzar, was first in line for his COVID-19 vaccination. “I’m most thankful for our ability to vaccinate our frontline workers and keep our staff well to care for patients,” he said.
Forrest Health hospitals do not require employee vaccination for COVID-19 vaccine. Educational information was provided to employees to help them make an informed decision. Although the vaccine is optional for staff, the hospital encourages them to consider taking it. According to Stephen Farrell, MD, Chief Medical Officer, “Although it is not required, like the influenza vaccine, we do encourage staff to consider taking it. We’ve provided as much information as possible to our employees so they can make their own informed and educated decision about taking the vaccine.” He added, “I, personally, believe it is better to deal with any possible short term side-effects and be vaccinated than to not be vaccinated and end up being diagnosed with COVID-19, which could be life-threatening or at the very least, potentially spread to others.”
For more information regarding the vaccine, go to https://fhcovid19.com/covid-19-vaccine-information/