Tallahassee hospitals begin administering COVID-19 vaccines

TMH and CRMC now administering COVID-19 vaccines
Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 18:04:11-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee is joining places worldwide in giving out COVID-19 vaccinations, with more than 11,000 vials of the vaccine being distributed to healthcare workers.

On Wednesday, Capital Regional Medical Center vaccinated close to 30 people with the Moderna vaccine. The hospital plans to administer 175 vaccinations a day until its 2,400 doses run out.

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare received 6,700 doses, and the hospital has to share some of those vaccines with other community clinics like Bond Community Clinic and Neighborhood First.

Capital Regional Chief Nursing Officer Ann Smith said the staff was eager to sign up for the vaccine.

"It's been a long year. I think it's been probably the toughest year for most of us in healthcare in a really long time," said Smith.

Dr. Jose Santana with Capital Regional mirrored Smith's thoughts. Dr. Santana was one of the first to get a vaccine at Capital Regional Wednesday and said the shot was easier than getting the flu shot.

"It's been overwhelming. We've seen so many patients because the virulence is so high. The mortality is low compared to other viruses but the virulence is so high that it's overwhelming to a healthcare system to see so many patients sick," said Dr. Santana.

The COVID-19 vaccine comes in two doses. If you're taking the Pfizer vaccine, there's a 21 day waiting period.

If it's a Moderna vaccine, that waiting period is 28 days.

Dr. Santana said in that time and even after getting fully vaccinated, wearing a mask, social distancing, and handwashing remains important.

"We're still not out of the woods after the second vaccination. We can still carry the disease and transmit the disease," said Dr. Santana.

Frontline workers are the first to get the shot. Hospitals in Tallahassee are prioritizing those workers in close contact with COVID positive patients.

In anticipation of widespread vaccinations, there is now a team traveling statewide, educating and encouraging others to get the shot.

The Statewide Coronavirus Vaccination Community Education and Engagement Taskforce includes a group of faith-based leaders from around the state, HBCU Presidents, Educators, Health Care Leaders, elected officials and community stakeholders.

The team met in Jacksonville Wednesday to address the need for more education in African-American communities.

"We cannot sit out two minutes. Black and brown people are dying disproportionately. This is what I call a moral code to develop this robust, grassroots campaign. To really get the word out that out. People need to strongly consider taking the vaccine all the members of the task force and others are willing to roll up their sleeves and take it on camera at public land because this is how deadly and serious this virus," said Rev. RB Holmes.

The task force plans to meet for a Zoom conference on Jan. 12 to share more about their plans to educate the community.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering