First COVID-19 vaccines given at UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital
On Tuesday, December 22, Dr. Jason Joseph became the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Chenango County.
Joseph, a Hospitalist at UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital, received the Moderna vaccine at shortly after 11 a.m. The shot was administered by his colleague B.J. Tomsic, a registered nurse and the service line manager for Acute and Cardiac Care at the Norwich hospital.
“Today, I had the privilege of helping to administer our first doses of the vaccine to our dedicated, selfless staff who have worked tirelessly to make a difference during this pandemic,” Tomsic said.
“After witnessing first-hand the negative effects of the COVID-19 virus on our community, our frontline workers and all of those who have been stricken with illness or lost loved ones as a result of this disease, it renewed my hope that there is a light at the end of this long tunnel.”
In addition to Joseph, the first group of recipients included medical providers, ICU nurses, Emergency Department staff, lab personnel, a respiratory therapist and other hospital staff members.
“We are grateful to each one of these health workers for volunteering to be among the first in line to receive this vaccine here in Chenango County,” said David Finney, Vice President of Clinical Services at UHS Chenango Memorial. “Since day one, they have been on the front line against this virus. And today they are truly leading by example.”
Tuesday’s shot clinic was just the start of Chenango Memorial’s plan to inoculate staff against the novel coronavirus. According to Finney, the Norwich hospital received their first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday, just three days after the drug received emergency use approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“This first allotment will give us a sufficient supply to give the first dose to all of our staff members who wish to receive it,” he said.
Each of those who receive the vaccine will need a second dose in 28 days, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
When asked about receiving one of the first vaccines at Chenango Memorial, Dr. Joseph said he hopes that by stepping forward, he'll inspire others to do the same.
As a hospitalist, he has cared for ICU patients battling COVID-19. And, while he said he understands the uneasiness some may have about the vaccine, he urges them to make their decision based on science, not rumor.
"The benefits outweigh the risks tenfold," he said.