SPRINGFIELD – Memorial Health System has received several thousand doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines this week and expects to complete the process of first vaccination dosage to its colleagues within the next two to three weeks.
The hospital system has received 6,235 doses of vaccine since Dec. 16, the day it administered the first vaccinations, said Chuck Callahan, president of the MHS hospital group and president and CEO of Memorial Medical Center. About 80 percent of the doses are Moderna, and the others were Pfizer-BioNTech.
Through Tuesday, Dec. 29, 3,089 colleagues across five regional campuses have been vaccinated. The health system will continue offering vaccination clinics for colleagues this week at several locations.
The number of colleagues receiving the vaccine at each hospital as of Dec. 29 is 1,298 at Memorial Medical Center, 866 at Decatur Memorial Hospital, 524 at Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, 260 at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln and 141 at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.
About 70 percent of MHS colleagues have indicated they wish to receive the vaccination, which is administered in two doses. MHS is encouraging, but not requiring, colleagues to be vaccinated.
“We have a mission to improve health, so we want to lead the way by encouraging our colleagues to take this vaccine,” Callahan said. “We believe the vaccines to be safe and effective and a milestone advance in the battle against the pandemic.”
The health system is working with local health departments in the five counties in which its hospitals are located. Colleagues were prioritized to receive the vaccination based on the proximity of work-related exposure to patients who are or may be COVID-19 positive. Clinical staff on COVID-19 units, the Emergency Department and intensive care units received first priority access to the vaccine.
“I am among the last who will be offered this vaccination, but I can tell you that I will gladly receive it when given the opportunity,” Callahan said.
No colleagues have suffered serious side effects, and only a few have experienced minor transitory muscle aches or fever, Callahan said.
Tiffany Robinson, a cardiovascular nurse at Decatur Memorial Hospital, said that her arm was “a little bit sore, no different from any other vaccine I’ve gotten.”
“I’m really glad I went and got the vaccine,” Robinson said. “I hope this is a light at the end of our tunnel.”