Forty-one of OCH Regional Medical Center’s allotment of 700 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination were administered Tuesday at OCH to employees of the Longest Student Health Center at Mississippi State University.
“Today, we’re focusing on our frontline healthcare workers to make sure they have the protection they need to care for our university,” said MSU Emergency Manager Brent Crocker, who was on hand to register employees receiving the vaccine. “It’s always great when OCH and MSU can work together to share knowledge, and in this particular case, plan our process for administering the vaccine.”
OCH originally received 100 doses on December 21st and began vaccinating OCH employees who care directly for COVID patients. On December 29th, the hospital received an additional 600 vaccines from the Mississippi State Department of Health in an effort to expedite the vaccination roll out.
“We expressed to MSDH that we would be willing to vaccinate healthcare workers in our community outside of our staff because we want to do everything we can to control COVID in our community,” stated Infection Control Director and Interim Chief Nursing Officer Savannah Brown, RN.
In addition to vaccinating staff, Brown also educated MSU Health Center and Emergency Management staff on vaccine storage and handling instructions, dosing schedule, side effects and the documentation process.
“Each person who is vaccinated receives an immunization card, and the information is entered into the Mississippi Immunization Information Exchange. This is where all vaccinations are documented for public health records, such as required immunization records for school entry and international travel,” explained Brown.
In coordination with MSDH, OCH is continuing to vaccinate hospital personnel, as well as healthcare workers who live and work in Oktibbeha County. To date, the hospital has used nearly 300 of its 700 shots while following strict guidelines by the CDC and MSDH on when specific groups are able to receive the vaccine. At this time, OCH has not been given specific information on the availability of vaccinations for non-healthcare personnel, including those at high-risk.
A registered nurse at the Longest Student Health Center, Katie Anthony said the decision for her to receive the vaccine came down to a risk versus benefit assessment.
“There are risks in everything we do. COVID is unpredictable in how it will affect a person. I believe the benefit of the vaccine and what it will protect me from far outweighs any risk of adverse reaction,” said Anthony.
The vaccine is a series of two shots, one month apart. The patient’s second dose must be given at the same facility as the first dose. Those who qualify for the vaccine may schedule a time to receive the vaccination at och.org/covid.