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St. Luke’s University Health Network vaccinates 2,000 healthcare workers

With 5,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses safely tucked away at minus-70-degrees Fahrenheit, St. Luke’s University Health Network vaccinated 2,000 healthcare workers through the Dec. 19 weekend to prepare for an even larger shipment of vaccine the week of Dec. 20.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the Moderna vaccine cleared the way for the 12-system health network to receive more doses for its 16,000-plus healthcare workers.

“I received my shot on Thursday,” said St. Luke’s Senior Vice President of Medical & Academic Affairs, Jeffrey Jahre, MD.

“It felt no different than any other vaccine, and I strongly encourage everyone who can to receive this vaccine. It will help end this pandemic,” Jahre said.

Employees at three of St. Luke’s hospitals, Anderson, Bethlehem and Sacred Heart, were to have received their vaccines the weekend of Dec. 19, with nurses administering six shots every 10 minutes.

Nursing home employees and EMS personnel were also able to receive the vaccine at St. Luke’s.

St. Luke’s may be the largest supplier of the vaccine locally, as Pennsylvania officials credit the hospital network for its organization, logistical planning and efficiency.

“We have been working hand-in-hand with the Department of Health since this pandemic started,” said Colleen Sprissler, RN, MSN, Senior Director of Network Operations for St. Luke’s. “They are releasing the vaccine as it becomes available and everything has been running very smoothly.”

Employee vaccination clinics will open at St. Luke’s additional eight campuses, a sign that community access to the vaccine may not be that far away.