Deaconess receives COVID-19 vaccines, first shots already administered

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EVANSVILLE (WEHT) – Wednesday marks a large day for the Tri-State area in the effort to end the pandemic. After months of anticipation, Deaconess will administer the first round the COVID-19 vaccines. It’s something we’ve waited months to hear.

After receiving emergency use authorization from the FDA, a COVID-19 vaccine made its way to the Tri-State. Those with Deaconess said they’re ready to tackle this virus.

“The vaccine has to be stored in an ultra cold freezer. We have a team that’s been working tirelessly to set up that process to store the vaccine and a team also working to staff up our clinics,” said Dr. Brad Sheu, Deaconess Chief Medical Officer.

The main focus now is to make sure frontline health care workers get the first round of vaccinations. More vulnerable groups will be eligible afterwards. The general public is expected to have access in the spring.

“I would anticipate over the next several months that the public would be able to get this. Of course we don’t know an exact date yet but we do expect that we’ll continue to get more vaccine as we get the vaccine that we received,” Sheu said.

Health experts stress that the vaccine does not give patients the virus. It works to help you build that immunity to COVID-19.

“You’re not actually getting COVID from this vaccine. You’re just getting instructions to build immunity against it. A little bit of different technology, but again it’s something that appears to be very safe and something that we’re really confident in,” Sheu said.

Deaconess said five clinical staff members did receive the vaccine Tuesday as part of training. Officials saidthe vaccine administration team was ensuring every step is smooth and are prepared.

Eyewitness News Daybreak will have full coverage of Wednesday’s first vaccinations at 7 a.m.

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(This story was originally published on December 15, 2020)

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