Local healthcare workers get vaccine

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Mississippi County Hospital System began administering the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday.

According to MCHS CEO Chris Raymer, the local hospital received 80 doses on Wednesday, and he’s hopeful more will arrive soon for the remainder of the 400 employees.

Raymer noted the vaccine is being given first to physicians and nurses as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. He said none of the employees had a reaction to it.

Raymer suggested residents get the vaccine when it becomes available to the general public, especially those who are high-risk.

He said one can’t get the vaccine if he or she has tested positive within 90 days, however.

Dana Kennedy of Gosnell, a nurse at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould, received the vaccine on Thursday and implored others to get it when it becomes available to them.

“I count myself fortunate to have received it,” Kennedy said. “Not all healthcare workers have access yet.”

She said the vaccine is two doses; most are only one dose.

“I received the Pfizer vaccine, which is two doses,” Kennedy said. “Many people have questioned why it has to be given in two doses, but there are other vaccines that are also given in multiple doses. Hep B, for instance, is in three. Tetanus has to be repeated every three years. I know there are many skeptics, but there are so many people who took a risk to be involved in the drug trials, in order to make sure that this vaccine was safe for the rest of us. I suppose I would ask them if they believe that a human life is worth saving. Whether theirs or someone else's, are they willing to do what it takes to help stop preventable deaths?”

The United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) last Thursday. The two-shot vaccine was developed by Pfizer Pharmaceutical. The vaccine is to be administered in two doses, three weeks apart.

The state of Arkansas received its first shipment of the newly approved drug Monday.

“The plan is to give the first doses of the drug to healthcare workers,” said Mississippi County Emergency Management Director Wayne Reynolds. “First responders (police and fire) will also be among the first to receive the vaccine.”

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the state’s health care professionals and those at risk will have the opportunity to be vaccinated before the drug is available for general use. The state has more than 218,000 healthcare professionals.

Osceola Times staff writer Steve Knox contributed to this report.