OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the FDA looks at a second coronavirus vaccine, healthcare workers across the state are the first ones in Oklahoma to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
On Thursday morning, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital began providing the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers at the hospital.
Stacey Purintun, a nurse in the emergency department at INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital, was the first person to receive the vaccine at the hospital.
“Taking care of patients in their time of need has always been my passion. Receiving this vaccine will allow me to continue to do this,” says Purintun. “After a long nine months of dealing with COVID-19, the vaccine gives me hope that we are getting back to some sense of normalcy.”
INTEGRIS Canadian Valley expected to provide the shot to 275 caregivers on Thursday.
“A safe, effective and accessible vaccine is crucial for long term success in our battle with this pandemic. We are grateful to be providing the vaccine to our caregivers so quickly after its release. Today we celebrate a bright moment. We are excited, hopeful and emotional that we are able to protect our caregivers and start turning the ship around,” said Teresa Gray, Chief Hospital Executive of INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital.
The healthcare workers will receive their second and final shot on Jan. 7.
INTEGRIS Miami Hospital caregivers Dr. Clark Osborn and RN Corey Reeves were the first health care professionals in northeast Oklahoma to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“For me, getting the vaccine feels like the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. I would encourage others to follow the recommendations of the CDC or their physician and take the vaccine when it becomes available, for their safety and for the health of our community,” said Osborn.
Officials said that although they’ve been taking every possible precaution against the virus, the vaccine will provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19.
“As a health care professional, I feel like it’s my responsibility to take the vaccine so we can eradicate this terrible disease that has caused so much illness and heartache in our community,” Reeves said. “I hope that by taking this vaccine my co-workers, family and community will see that is safe and effective.”
Officials in Cleveland County say Donita Malone, a licensed practical nurse at Griffin Memorial Hospital, was the first of 112 healthcare workers to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is exciting! It’s the beginning of the end, hopefully,” said Malone about being the first recipient at the hospital.
Approximately 2,000 healthcare workers within Cleveland County are set to receive the vaccine in the coming week.
“As we begin the process of vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus in Central Oklahoma, our Health Department staff and medical partners from across the area have been and will continue to work diligently to ensure that these vaccines are distributed to as many Oklahomans as possible,” said Jackie Kanak, a Regional Director for the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “Please help them by continuing to wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance as these are still key components of minimizing the spread of COVID at this time. We must work together in order to defeat this virus.”
In the meantime, officials stress that Oklahomans need to continue to wear a mask, keep their distance from others, and wash their hands until there is widespread use of the vaccine.
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