Health care workers at St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital (SJPVH), members of Dignity Health Central Coast, are among the first to receive the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine.
St. John’s will administer the first dose of the two-dose vaccine to several hundred essential health care workers and physicians. Two doses of the recently FDA approved Pfizer vaccine in persons aged 16 years and older are necessary for the vaccine to be effective, and will be administered three weeks apart.
“We remain committed to the health and safety of our patients, staff, and community. While we understand that vaccine distribution will be a process, today we are one step closer to a safer future,” said Darren W. Lee, President and CEO of St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital. “As we move forward, we continue to collaborate with our local and state health departments to acquire additional doses for distribution.”
In preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine, Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals acquired the necessary equipment to store and administer the vaccine, train staff, and develop relevant processes and procedures.
“We have seen first-hand in the devastating impact of the coronavirus on our communities and across the world,” said Raj Bhatia, MD, Medical Director of the Intensivist Program and the Critical Care Unit at St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital. “The Pfizer vaccine gives us great hope. This vaccine, along with the appropriate personal protective equipment, will help keep our health care teams safe as they continue to deliver care to COVID-19 positive patients.”
In accordance with federal and state guidelines, initial supplies of vaccines are reserved for frontline workers including, health care workers, first responders and those at highest risk. While the vaccine is now available at our facilities, employees are encouraged but not required to receive the vaccine.
Although the vaccine is now available to some essential staff members, we must remain vigilant and continue to follow CDC guidelines – including wearing a mask, frequent hand hygiene, and social distancing.
Dignity Health St. John’s will continue to share vaccination updates as they become available. For more information, visit: CDC.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.