HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Tuesday, more hospitals received their first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to give to healthcare workers.
Bon Secours in Hampton Roads got just shy of 3,000 doses to distribute to their four hospitals across the area.
Dr. Marlene Capps, Chief Medical Officer at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, plans on being one of the many first front line workers to take the shot.
“I'm excited to get mine and get going,” Capps said. “As soon as we posted the sign up, immediately more than 50% of the available slots were filled within just a couple of hours.”
This week, the vaccine made its way to other Bon Secours hospitals in Virginia.
Capps calls the arrival a “mental uplift” after months of fighting the virus.
“I'm hoping the vaccine is a mental highlight of [the] light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “The doctors and nurses are the heroes every day. Our staff have just been great in terms of working the extra shifts and stepping up when needed.”
“When it arrived, it's just a mix of emotions,” Bon Secours Hampton Roads Chief Operating Officer Darlene Stephenson said. “The main being excitement, then some anticipation about what's coming in the days ahead.”
Stephenson told News 3 Bon Secours Hampton Roads plans to start vaccinating staff this Friday, and around 1,000 front line workers are eligible to be vaccinated first.
“Individuals such as your emergency department staff and providers, your ICU staff, your intensivists, any COVID cohort unit you may have in your facility,” she said. “They have the highest risk.”
They're fully confident they'll have enough for front line workers.
“We have enough vaccines to move into the second phase already,” Stephenson said. “We will allow for the staff member to choose the time and the day and the site that they want to get vaccinated, so that will work around their schedule.”
The vaccine is voluntary for Bon Secours staff, and Stephenson said workers will continue wearing PPE regardless of whether they're vaccinated.
She said there's high interest among medical staff to get the shot.
“To now have this vaccine, which can help us to control, and hopefully eliminate this horrible disease, it is a light,” Stephenson said. “It is the hope they need. The encouragement that there are better days ahead.”