First vaccines are administered in Madisonville

Coronavirus Watch

MADISONVILLE, Ky (WEHT) The first ten healthcare workers in Madisonville received the COVID vaccine Wednesday. Baptist Health in Madisonville received their first shipment of the vaccine on Tuesday.

The first group of vaccine recipients includedphysicians and APRNs, an ED physician,  a nurse, respiratory therapists, and an EMS crew member.

“Today, we are humbled, we are honored, we are excited,” said Dr. Wayne Lipson, Chief Medical Officer for Baptist Health Madisonville.

These ten respiratory therapists, nurses and doctors got the first of two doses of the vaccine.

“I feel very fortunate that we get to do this,” said Joel Hunt, a respiratory therapist at Baptist Health.

“Just thankful. I had told them, ‘I’ll take it. Be glad to take it,'” added Duana Camplin, a respiratory therapist, who was the first of ten to be vaccinated this afternoon. She hopes it’s the first step to turning the tide against a virus that’s done so much damage.

“It’s a lot of suffering. Emotional, physical, the toll on patients and families the most. But for all of us that work here that know each other, we’re like family. It’s very tough. I’m excited to turn the corner,” Camplin said, describing what it’s been like for health care workers since the pandemic started.

Baptist Health Madisonville was one of 11 hospitals chosen for parts of the first shipment, and one of five Baptist Health facilities in Kentucky and Indiana. The hospital received 975 vaccines early Tuesday morning.

“Our team has researched all the therapeutics and treatment of COVID and we’ve been educated on the vaccine and the trials and studies. When I heard that we were going to get the vaccine, I was very excited to be a part of it,” said Brandi Barnes, a nurse at Baptist Health.

Dr. Lipson says it’s the start of giving some protection to those on the front lines. These health care workers hope it encourages others to get vaccinated once it’s available to the general public.(Joel hunt) 

“We need enough to get vaccinated to have an effect on this. HOpeuflly they’ll be encouraged,” says Hunt.

“I hope it gets out there and as many people that can and want to take it can take it, if available. It’s a great way to do this,” Camplin adds.

Dr. Lipson says they should be getting the second shipment of the vaccine in about three weeks, which will be given to those who got or will get the first dose, as part of the two-part vaccination.

According to the Kentucky Department of Public Health, the first groups of people to get the vaccine will be high-risk healthcare workers and first responders. Then people with comorbidities and underlying conditions that put them at a significantly higher risk, and those living in long term care facilities.

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(This story was originally published on December 16, 2020)

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