‘Painless,’ Albany Med worker says after receiving first coronovirus vaccination


ALBANY – Monday marked a new era in the fight against the novel Coronovirus, as hospital workers in New York and the Capital Region were among the first in the nation to receive vaccinations against COVID-19.

The first New Yorker – and possibly the first person from the United States – was vaccinated on Monday morning at 9:23. Sandra Lindsay, a nurse who works in the Queens Intensive Care Unit, was given the first two shots made by Pfizer that G. One Andrew M. Were shown on livestreams hosted on Cuomo’s website.

“It didn’t feel any different than taking any other vaccine,” she said after receiving the shot.

About six hours later Cynthia Tanksley – a clerical associate specialist in the emergency room at Albany Medical Center – rolled up her sleeves to receive what is believed to be the capital’s first coronavirus vaccine.

“Painless” is the term Tanksley, who has worked at Albany Med for 41 years, describing getting shot.

“It was good,” he said. “It was not painful.”

Albany Medical Center Hospital on Monday afternoon hired employees such as Tanksley, the first of nearly 1,000 doses of the coronovirus vaccine, whose registration of patients when they first arrived in the ER puts them at high risk for risk. Area nursing homes are expected to receive their first dose of vaccine on or around December 21.

“This is a historic moment for the region as well as Albany Med,” said Denise McKenna, president and CEO of Albany Med. “Don’t let yourself get fooled: There’s still a lot of work to do. But when we look at this date in history in the global pandemic, we’ll say it was the beginning of the end in the capital region.”

Albany Med has received 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine so far, and the first batch is going to employees who work in settings that are at high risk for virus transmission, such as emergency departments and intensive care The unit, said Fred Wendy, general director of the hospital system.

He said that the initial batch of vaccines would take a few days to operate. Employees receiving a shot this week must also receive a booster shot 21 days after their first dose for full effectiveness to vaccinate.

“Dosing is some immunity after another,” said Anthony Despirito, director of pharmacy at Albany Med. “But in fact it is after two doses and later when complete immunity is seen.”

Albany Med said it is estimated to receive another shipment of “first dose” vaccines within the next 21 days.

He said that vaccination of staff in the hospital would not be mandatory. He said the hospital sent employees a survey to find out their attitude toward the COVID-19 vaccine, and that more than 80 percent of the approximately 1,100 people said they would be comfortable receiving it. He said Albany Med has about 10,000 employees, including 6,000 who work in frontline clinical settings.

“The vaccine has been determined by the FDA and CDC to be safe and effective,” McKenna said. “While this is not mandatory, employees are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine.”

Even after vaccination, safety precautions and the COVID-19 protocol, including masking, social disturbances, hand washing, and visitor boundaries, will continue on Albany Med.


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McKenna said the hospital made a strategic start of its vaccine rollout in September. An interdisciplinary team led by the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College developed guidelines for prioritization based on state recommendations, he said.

“The first places you go are clearly the places where workers are most at risk,” McKenna said. “They treat emergency departments and our intensive care units and then our units on the floor like COVID patients. Sounds easy, but it gets very complicated because you also have to prioritize members of the workforce who may be more at risk depending on their co-morbidities or risk factors. So this is incredibly complex work… our hope is that we can roll over all those people as quickly as possible. ‘

An emergency medical doctor Greg Wu, who has been treating COVID-19 patients since the onset of the epidemic, was one of the first Albany Med employees to receive the vaccine on Monday. He felt only a pinch, he said – “like any vaccine.”

“I’m glad I can take care of patients – COVID and non-COVID in a safe way.”

Other Capital Region hospitals did not directly respond to Times Union questions on Monday when they are expected to receive their first vaccines. McKenna also did not directly respond when asked if Albany would become a distribution center for vaccines in the Med region, but he indicated this.

“Albany Med wants to lead by example, and we are sure to play an even broader role in the coming weeks and months for the delivery of the COVID vaccine,” he told reporters on Monday. “We will talk more about this in the near future.”

New York was slated to receive 170,000 initial doses of Pfizer, which are going to all nursing home residents and employees and frontline healthcare workers. After being approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the alternative Modern Vaccine would be shipped thousands of times to New York, as the Pfizer treatment took place last week. The first vaccination began nationwide Monday, and other news outlets reported that New York was the first.

Although the vaccine is at hand, the COVID-19 epidemic is not over yet.

“It’s going to take months before we get vaccinated,” Cuomo said on Monday. “So it’s the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a long tunnel, and we need people to continue doing the right thing and the smart thing during the holiday season.”

New York’s rate of coronovirus positivity has risen in the past month, about 5 percent statewide – a far cry from the streak in late summer when it was below 1 percent for a month. Hospitalization and deaths have climbed again, and Cuomo said he expects increased socialization during the holiday season to result in full cases next month.

The governor estimated that it would not be until June that 75 to 85 percent of the general population – enough people to get back to pre-COVID normalcy – would have received the vaccine.

Queens nurse Lindsey, who received the state’s first shot, said she believes in the science behind the vaccine and hopes to arouse public confidence in the process.

Albany Med leaders echoed that sentiment and urged members of the public to keep the virus at bay and hospitalization low.

“Just as we worked together to defeat social distortions and coronoviruses by wearing masks and washing our hands, we must continue to work together to overcome it in this new phase … all of you vaccines Can play an incredibly important role after planting. Becomes available, “McKenna said. Help us to help you get it when the vaccine is available in your area. “

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