ASHLAND -- UH Samaritan Medical Center began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to its frontline employees Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Earlier this week, 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived at the Ashland-based hospital, according to Manager of Pharmacy Services, Tanya Mounts.
The first employees received the vaccine Wednesday afternoon through a series of scheduled appointments. Those receiving the vaccine included emergency room nurses and doctors, respiratory therapists and others with consistent face-to-face contact with patients.
"This pandemic has really taken a hold on everyone. It's just important that we as soon as it's available, we try to reduce the havoc this is causing," Mounts said.
Moderna's vaccine is one of two approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved first. Then, Moderna also received permission to distribute.
Both vaccines require two doses and work similarly. They use messenger RNA (mRNA) to trigger an immune response if someone becomes infected with COVID-19.
Mounts completed an application for UH Samaritan Hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine about six to eight weeks ago.
"At that time, we had no idea when we'd get it," she said.
She watched for regular updates from the Ohio Department of Health. When the Pfizer vaccine was approved, she quickly learned that the Ashland hospital would not be included in its distribution. Only a limited amount was available and was to be distributed to a predetermined list of hospitals, she explained.
"So we knew we'd likely get Moderna, and over the weekend, we got a schedule about this," Mounts said.
The vaccine arrived Monday.
Mounts does not know when additional doses of the vaccine will arrive.
"The process has been very streamlined. They've always communicated with us what they know," Mounts said.