Melody Hill after her shot. Now we’re one step closer for this to be over. Picasa

Farmington, Maine – Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) administered the first vaccinations for COVID-19 to its front-line caregivers today after receiving a shipment of 500 Moderna doses this morning.

At approximately 1:15 p.m. Melody Hill, BSN, RN, became the first care team member at Franklin Memorial Hospital to receive the vaccine. Hill is a nurse who has treated COVID-19 patients in the FMH Medical/Surgical unit. A resident of Winthrop, she said she was getting the vaccine to keep her community and family safe. She and her husband Vincent are the parents of a three-year-old son.

Immediately after receiving the shot Hill smiled and said, “Now we’re one step closer for this to be over.” She is the first of approximately 40 care team members expected to get vaccinated today as part of a soft rollout.

Several weeks ago, MaineHealth formed a system-wide task force with clinicians from all nine of its local health systems to oversee distribution of the vaccine among its front-line caregivers. The task force has been working to set up vaccine clinics across the system in an effort to vaccinate care team members as quickly as possible.

Neither MaineHealth nor Franklin Memorial are making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for its employees, but are strongly encouraging care team members to take the vaccine as senior leaders feel this is the best strategy to keep health care staff safe and able to continue to provide patient care until the pandemic gets under control.

Franklin’s vaccination plan is based on guidance from CDC regarding prioritization. “Whether staff are scheduled to receive the vaccine tomorrow or next week I am confident we have enough to vaccinate staff who want it that are involved in patient care or support patients care by the end of next week,” said Barbara Sergio, BSN, MSHA, CPHQ, FMH senior director of quality and safety.

The Moderna vaccine requires two doses before being fully effective. For staff getting vaccinated in this first round, the second dose needs to be given 28 days after the first.

“By having our care team protected against COVID-19, we can better assure that we will be ready to treat, not just those suffering with COVID, but everyone who needs care during this time,” said Dr. Dora Mills, MD, MaineHealth’s chief health improvement officer.

Vaccinations will not diminish the need to take precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Within Franklin Memorial Hospital and all of MaineHealth, all safety measures will remain in place, including the use of personal protective equipment, extra cleaning of surfaces, segregation of patients known or suspected of having COVID-19, and daily screening for symptoms of all employees.

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