“We can see a finish line,” COVID unit nurse says as Kettering Health Network receives vaccine

“We can see a finish line,” COVID unit nurse says as Kettering Health Network receives vaccine
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KETTERING — Vaccinations for health care workers are underway in the Kettering Health Network, and doctors believe all front line personnel who want a shot should be able to get one within weeks.

Kettering began with a small number of vaccinations Wednesday. But with the health network set to receive 5,700 doses of Moderna’s vaccine by the end of the week, Dr. Mark Weinstein, Chief Quality Officer, said many more shots are planned beginning Monday.

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“We’re prioritizing the people who work in COVID units,” Weinstein said. “Following that, the people who work in anesthesia, surgery, who might be more exposed to the patient’s airway, followed by other people who work in the hospital, and then followed after that by people who work in outpatient areas.”

Weinstein believes within three weeks, all health care personnel who deal with patients directly and want the vaccine right away should be able to get one.

It’s promising news at a time when the health network is noting a positive trend: a decrease in cases in the last two weeks – although doctors and public health officials are waiting to see if Ohio goes through a post-holiday COVID-19 spike – something Weinstein said Kettering has NOT observed in the wake of Thanksgiving last month.

“We think this is a real reduction,” he said of the current case trend. “But we don’t know how long this is going to last.” Weinstein noted the cases doctors are seeing right now are highly acute – with a number of recent COVID-related deaths.

Nurse Reba Pruett, who works in a COVID unit at Kettering, said she becomes emotional thinking of the suffering she has observed in patients over the last nine-plus months of the pandemic.

“I’ve obviously been struggling a lot personally,” Pruett said. “Seeing them be alone in rooms for weeks at a time. Seeing them fight this awful virus.” Pruett was among the healthcare workers to get a vaccine Wednesday.

“It just brings some hope to myself and the hospital,” she said. “We can see a finish line. It helps us to finish the race strong.”

As it begins these vaccinations, Kettering joins Premier Health, Dayton Children’s Hospital and Mercy Health in the region in providing vaccinations for its healthcare workers.