’Twas two days before Christmas when frontline staff at the Greene County Medical Center began receiving vaccinations against COVID-19, a sign in more ways than one that our longest year ever is coming to an end.
Greene County Public Health received its historic first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (300 doses in all) on Dec. 22, just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed the vaccine safe and effective. Vaccinations began Dec. 23.
Pictured receiving the vaccine (clockwise from top left) are Emily Christensen, care management exercise specialist; Kelli Farley, RN; Dr. Thomas Fagg; and Rochelle Guess, ARNP.
The first allocations are small in number and prioritized for people in high-risk groups, including health care workers and long-term care residents. Public Health is also providing the vaccine to EMS, pharmacies, dental offices and school nurses.
Recommendations for which groups receive the vaccine first came from the FDA and the CDC.
The next phase of vaccination will expand to other essential workers and high-risk patients.
The vaccine is expected to be available to the public in the spring.
Two doses, given a few weeks apart, will be needed to protect people from getting COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 650 Greene County residents since the spring, and has claimed the lives of at least seven local residents.
Currently, two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use in the United States: one by Pfizer-BioNTech (95 percent effective) and the one by Moderna (94.1 percent effective).
By comparison, according to the CDC, the flu vaccine is between 40 and 60 percent effective.