We would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to LevittownNow reporter Tom Sofield, for his recent story about the COVID-19 vaccine at Lower Bucks Hospital. We would also like to thank Michael Mignone, Radiology Director, Stephanie Faherty, RT, Lea Rodriguez, CNO, April Martin, ED nurse, and all the employees who received the vaccine.
First COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Administered In Lower Bucks County
By: Tom Sofield
Just about 10 months after Bucks County started reporting confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19, the first health care workers in the lower end of the county received the first doses of a vaccine.
Early Thursday afternoon, medical staff at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol Township began receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from the hospital’s fresh delivery of 975 doses.
Of the three hospitals in the Levittown area, only Lower Bucks Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown Township received doses of the vaccine in the first batch of 97,500 doses provided to the state.
Respiratory therapist Stephanie Faherty, a 35-year veteran of Lower Bucks Hospital, was the first person to receive the vaccine. She has cared for numerous COVID-19 patients and has seen a number die from the novel coronavirus.
“I feel appreciative,” she said of getting the shot.
Faherty held a sign that read she received the vaccine to keep her family and patients safe.
Faherty urged others to get the vaccine when they are able to and said she “felt nothing” as the vaccine was administered.
Michael Mignone, the radiology director at Lower Bucks Hospital, was also among the first staff members to receive the vaccine. He received the first dose in his arm, just above his Superman tattoo.
Lea Rodriguez, the chief nursing officer at Lower Bucks Hospital, said the staff was “quite excited” about the vaccine arriving.
At St. Mary Medical Center, health care workers began receiving the first of the 975 doses of the vaccine that were delivered Thursday afternoon.
Respiratory therapist Anita Hinchcliff was the first St. Mary Medical Center employee to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, those who receive a first dose will have to get a second in 21 days. Cards are handed out with reminders for a second dose and confirmation of the first dose.
Doylestown Hospital was the first medical center in the county to receive the vaccine earlier this week, but state health officials said doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and others that will likely be approved will be delivered to more hospitals over the coming weeks.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has laid out a 68-page plan on vaccine distribution. The first phase, which started this week, will focus first on health care workers, then first responders, and critical care workers.
The general public is not expected to be able to get the vaccine until spring at the soonest.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, recently said that it is estimated that 75 to 80 percent of Americans need to be vaccinated for normalcy to return.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved late last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an emergency use authorization that followed a trial and review of data. Other countries have also approved use of the vaccine.
Federal officials are close to approving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which would provide a similar and second option.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has to be stored in an ultra-cold freezer between -112 and -76 degrees. It is shipped in special containers to keep it at the proper temperature, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Both Lower Bucks Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center are storing the vaccine in ultra-cold freezers.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in trials and the initial rollout.
The health care workers at Lower Bucks Hospital on Thursday said they will be getting it.
“The vaccine is a vitally important tool in getting the pandemic under control and we are delighted to have begun offering colleagues and physicians vaccinations. Even with hope on the horizon, we strongly urge everyone in our community to mask up, wear masks properly (covering nose and mouth), physically distance, wash hands, and avoid crowds and close conversations,” St. Mary Medical Center officials said.