Carroll Hospital Begins COVID-19 Vaccinations of Front-line Caregivers

Carroll Hospital has begun to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to front-line healthcare workers. The first doses of the newly approved Pfizer COVID vaccine arrived at LifeBridge Health on December 17 and Carroll Hospital held its first clinic on December 18 for employees who have pre-registered to receive the vaccine.
The first to receive the vaccine at Carroll Hospital was Dr. Mark Olszyk, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs. The clinic started out with plans to administer the vaccine to approximately 50 people on the first day. Beginning Monday, employee vaccination clinics will be held Monday through Friday, except for major holidays.
“This is really an exciting moment for our care teams who have been working tirelessly for months to care for COVID-19 patients,” says Leslie Simmons, executive vice president and chief operating officer at LifeBridge Health.
She adds, “Our priority for the vaccine will be all those who work directly with COVID-19 patients or team members who may be more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 patients, such as our emergency department teams. These roles include doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, patient care techs, transport staff and environmental services (EVS) workers – anyone and everyone who touches or supports the people who care for COVID positive or suspected COVID positive patients.”
In deciding who will get the vaccine first, LifeBridge Health is following CDC guidelines as well as Governor Larry Hogan’s four-stage distribution plan. LifeBridge Health received 2,900 doses in Thursday’s initial shipment.
LifeBridge Health has created an “opt-in” program for the COVID vaccine, meaning that employees must register to let the health system know that they want to receive the COVID vaccine. It will not be mandatory.
There has been a strong response to the initial inquiry asking employees to register. Within seven minutes of the registration announcement, approximately 100 employees had registered for the vaccine. Within one hour, that number jumped to 500. As of Wednesday evening (12/16), nearly 4,000 LifeBridge Health employees had registered to get the vaccine. LifeBridge Health has about 13,000 employees.
“We are so pleased to see such a tremendous response of team members to the vaccine; it represents a light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic. Still, as a healthcare organization, we know that the vaccine is just one tool in fighting the virus and we must all continue to wear masks, limit gatherings and practice social distancing,” adds Simmons.
LifeBridge Health has been preparing for the vaccine roll-out for months, including ordering two new ultra-cold freezers for the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at -80 degrees Celsius. LifeBridge Health also acquired a freezer that goes to -20 degrees Celsius to accommodate other COVID vaccines with different storage requirements. The pharmacy team has also been working closely with occupational health as well as the IT team and LifeBridge Health’s Virtual Hospital to coordinate the vaccine registration process.
“We are so proud of how teams have come together to prepare to bring this vaccine to our front-line healthcare workers. At a time when the virus is surging, the arrival of the vaccine offers hope during this worldwide pandemic,” concludes Simmons.
About LifeBridge Health:
LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of health services in Maryland. LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center and related affiliates. For more information, visit www.lifebridgehealth.org

Photo Captions:
Top photo:  Mackenzie Hruby, clinical pharmacist specialist, administers the first COVID vaccine at Carroll Hospital to Mark Olszyk, M.D., chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs at Carroll Hospital on December 18, 2020.

Bottom photo: Rachel Uzmed, certified pharmacy technician, prepares the first batch of COVID vaccines at Carroll Hospital on December 18, 2020

CONTACT: Selena Mowery, 410-871-7251