GALION — Avita Health System received 300 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Monday morning, Dec. 28 and started vaccinating frontline employees on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
“The first group of employees to receive the vaccine were those with the highest exposure to COVID patients,” explained Jerry Morasko, CEO/President of Avita Health System. “This includes our physicians, advanced practice providers, respiratory therapists, inpatient nursing, and the emergency departments.”
Each Avita hospital — Bucyrus, Galion, and Ontario — received 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, according to a press release distributed by the hospital system. Within the first 48 hours of vaccinating employees, 90 percent of the doses had been administered.
“We’ve had vaccination plans in place for weeks, so we were prepared to quickly and methodically vaccinate our employees once we had the vaccines in hand,” added Morasko.
With over 2,000 employees, Avita received enough doses last week to vaccinate 15% of its staff. An additional 300 doses have been allocated by the Ohio Department of Health and are expected to be delivered this week.
“Since we haven’t received nearly enough vaccines for all of our employees, we are using a 7-Tier Vaccination Plan to prioritize vaccinations and ensure the community has 24/7 access to safe, quality care,” said Morasko. “Our employees have been caring for COVID patients for most of 2020 and have witnessed the effects of this virus first hand. We are excited to now have a vaccine that is a safe, effective resource to fight COVID-19.”
The Galion City Health Department received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Moderna on Dec. 21 and began vaccinating first responders on Dec. 23. Members of the Galion Fire Department were the first to receive the vaccine.
Health Commissioner Trish Factor said vaccine shipments are expected on a weekly basis, but that is not guaranteed.
“The amount we’ll receive weekly may vary,” Factor said. “We’re going to maintain lists. We’re going to verify how many (doses) we’re getting and how many people we have on the lists for the next round. So, we’ll keep going through that process and getting (the vaccine) pushed out and also making sure we’re prepared for the second round.”
Factor said all of the longterm care facilties in Galion are registered with the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program to receive the vaccine for their residents and staff members. In Ohio, Absolute Pharmacy, CVS, PharmScript, and Walgreens are administering the vaccines in that program.
Avita Health System contributed to this report.