COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive, Marking Turning Point in Pandemic
On Dec. 17, 2020, a breakthrough arrived in the battle against COVID-19.
Adventist HealthCare hospitals received shipments of 975 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, some of the first vials distributed from the state of Maryland to hospitals for frontline healthcare workers.
That afternoon, Dannin McClenahan, RN, was the first employee in the Adventist HealthCare system to receive a dose of vaccine. Her coworker Karla Hudalla, RN, administered the shot at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center as a small group of team members in the Birch Conference Room clapped and held back their emotions.
“I got into this profession as a nurse to be able to take care of my patients, and I know that the only way I can do that is if I am safe and I am protected from this virus,” Dannin said about her decision to receive the vaccine, which was granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11. Dannin is hopeful the vaccine will bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and finally allow her and her fiancé to have their postponed wedding this fall.
“Everybody’s been working so hard and dealing with so many things. To have this light at the end of the tunnel is really exciting,” said hospital President Dan Cochran right after the first shots were administered. “We are happy this day has come.”
After administering doses to its healthcare workers, Adventist HealthCare in late January 2021 opened three community vaccine clinics. Like other leaders in the health system, Dan encourages community members to get vaccinated as they become eligible under state guidelines. “This pandemic has impacted about every aspect of everyone’s life. We now know we’re getting to the end of that and this vaccine will get us there.”