Biloxi VA receives Moderna vaccine

After originally expecting to receive their shipment of the Moderna vaccine Monday morning to being told the vaccine would come Wednesday to now receiving it earlier today, the Biloxi Veterans Affairs Medical Center has finally administered the vaccine to their first healthcare worker.

The VA was notified early this morning that their 1,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine would arrive at 11 a.m.

VA medical staff then had to wait for the vaccine to thaw which takes an hour at room temperature then they were able to give their first vaccination at 2:30 p.m. to ICU Nurse Shane Pierce.

Adapting to change has been something the VA medical staff has been preparing for. They even had a dry run of the first vaccination Monday morning when prepping for the first expected arrival of the Moderna vaccine. Associate Director of Patient Care Services Dr. Christopher Saslo said, “So the real tribute is to the folks that have been a part of this team because that flexibility that you just mentioned has been absolutely critical to this being successful long term. And so, the team came back together today. We identified the staff that were available. As you just saw some of them coming through already. And being able to make sure that we’re using those 10 doses out of each vile because there cannot be any waste.”

GCVHCS Medical Center Director Bryan Matthews said, “I’ve watched our healthcare heroes work day in, day out since the beginning of this pandemic, saving veterans lives. And this morning, when the vaccine came off the truck, it was very emotional. And more so emotional to see our first employee get the vaccination.”

Pierce said, “One of the major reasons that I wanted to get one is not only to protect myself, but to protect my family because I see people that don’t know they have it and they take it home to their family and their family gets sick from it so. Unfortunately, I see it firsthand. I see the patients that are getting COVID. Then I see what the outcomes are. I see the positive outcomes; I see the negative outcomes.”

The VA will administer the vaccine to all healthcare workers who request to get vaccinated and then long-term care residents.

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