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LifeBridge Health > Press Releases > LifeBridge Health Begins COVID-19 Vaccinations of Front-line Caregivers

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For Immediate Release
12/18/2020
Sharon Boston
410-215-3633
svboston@lifebridgehealth.org

Helene King
410-790-3868
hking@lifebridgehealth.org
LifeBridge Health Begins COVID-19 Vaccinations of Front-line Caregivers

Baltimore MD – LifeBridge Health 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 with 24 team members receiving the vaccine that afternoon at Sinai Hospital. The health system will begin larger vaccination clinics on December 18 at Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital and Carrol Hospital for employees who have pre-registered to receive the vaccine.

“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.” 

The first person to receive the vaccine at LifeBridge Health was emergency room nurse Romarie Poore, who joined Sinai Hospital at the start of the pandemic. Also among the first group was Sandra Melton who works on the environmental services team and manages the laundry department at Sinai Hospital. Pediatrician Dr. David Tuchman was the first physician to receive the vaccine. 

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 expects to receive 2,900 doses with this first round of vaccinations. 

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 our 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 


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