Five University of Maryland Medical System frontline healthcare workers – two physicians, a nurse, a respiratory therapist and an environmental service worker – received COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines today as the System begins the process of vaccinating staff members throughout the organization. UMMS received one tray of 975 vaccine doses and is in the process of allocating doses across the System, with additional vaccine delivery expected later this week.
“For many months, we have been looking forward to the day when vaccines would be available to protect our healthcare workers and very soon for the community at large,” said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and CEO of UMMS. “As we begin vaccinations, and finally begin the process of ending this pandemic, I’m thankful to our UMMS and UM School of Medicine colleagues who have been working tirelessly to care for our community and lead in the development of innovative treatments and vaccines.”
The first UMMS employee to receive the vaccine was Shawn Hendricks, MSN, RN, Nursing Director of Medicine, Cardiac Services and the Tele-sitter Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, the System’s flagship academic medical center in downtown Baltimore. Hendricks oversees multiple units that care for COVID patients, including the new Modular Care Unit. A Baltimore City native who now lives in Baltimore County, Hendricks, who was vaccinated at 1pm, said she was proud to be the first person vaccinated at UMMS, and encourages others to do the same.
“I am a nurse on the frontlines of caring for COVID patients and I believe in the science behind the vaccine,” Hendricks said. “I want my family and I to be safe from getting COVID. Unless people start to get vaccinated, I think this pandemic will last longer, and get worse.”
“I’ve seen enough death and dying. It’s already hit my family, and I don’t want it to hit my household,” she added, noting her mother spent two months recovering from COVID and her brother and brother-in-law were also diagnosed with the infection.