Williamson Medical Center (WMC) is among the list of Tennessee hospitals slated to receive the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. WMC has been working closely with the Tennessee Department of Health and CDC in preparation for receipt of 975 vaccine doses, which will be administered to WMC emergency medical services personnel and inpatient hospital team members who have direct exposure to COVID-19 inpatients or associated infectious materials, as prioritized per Phase Tier 1a in the Tennessee Health Department’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for Tennessee.
WMC will be following protocols in place by Pfizer and the Tennessee Department of Health regarding the storage, prioritization and administration schedule of vaccine doses received. The vaccine requires two immunization rounds, so employees receiving the first dose will then be scheduled to receive a second dose in three weeks. It may take up to 35 days to achieve immunity following receipt of the second vaccine dose.
Eligible staff members have been provided the opportunity to sign up to receive the vaccine at no cost. While not mandatory, WMC is encouraging medical and support staff to be vaccinated for their own protection, as well as in support of the larger effort to manage the COVID-19 health crisis.
COVID-19 case numbers across the state and at WMC continue to fluctuate daily. Last week, the highest peak of COVID-19 inpatients was 40 and the start of this week’s COVID-19 inpatients was 36. WMC continues to follow the enhanced safety protocols in place to protect patients and staff while serving the community’s healthcare needs. It is crucial that patients not delay routine or urgent medical care.
Until vaccines are available for the greater community and a large portion of the public has been vaccinated, the most effective way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is continuing to follow CDC-recommended safety measures including social distancing, wearing cloth face coverings by those over two years of age in public settings where social distancing measures are challenging, proper hygiene including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer when necessary, and the cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
To stay informed about COVID-19 visit www.CDC.gov or call the Tennessee Department of Health patient hotline at 877-857-2945 with questions.