Healthcare workers at Singing River Health System receive COVID-19 vaccine

The first vaccinations against COVID-19 have begun in Mississippi as cases of COVID-19 soar. Vaccinations on the Coast arrived today at Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula.

These Singing River Health System frontline workers were the first on the Gulf Coast to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Nine-hundred and seventy-five doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered by the Mississippi State Department Tuesday afternoon to Singing River in Pascagoula as a part of phase 1A of vaccination distribution. Singing River Health System CEO Lee Bond said, “We our honored and blessed. We have such strong heroes on the frontline, these warriors that have just been fighting and fighting since March 9th without a break.”

Singing River Chief Nursing and Patient Officer Susan Russell was one of the frontline workers that received the vaccine Tuesday. “I can honestly say I really did not feel it. I may have a little bit of a sore arm. That’s always a possibility when you get a vaccine, but right now, I mean, I can’t even tell I had a vaccine. So, I’d tell everybody do not let fear stop you from being protected from this disease.”

The Pfizer vaccination is an RNA vaccine and requires special handling. It can’t be vigorously shaken or jolted and it has to be in controlled temperatures. “The staff are getting acclimated with our pharmacy experts on how to manage it because this is a little different then previous vaccines. So just making sure every single vaccine was handled appropriately and going through that learning curve.”

Twenty-one days after receiving the vaccine, a booster is administered to complete the vaccination process. “After the first vaccine, we know that just within a couple of days you have immunity. But you get that almost one-hundred percent immunity after that 21-day booster– very much like when you were a child and you got your booster shot. This is the same thing.”

Currently, the healthcare system doesn’t have information on the potential timing of receiving vaccines for phase 1B or the following phases of distribution.

Until then, those vaccinated are still encouraged to continue to follow CDC guidelines. “There’s a lot of speculation about them, but until it’s here we can’t count on it. So we’re really focused on the here and the now.”

Singing River hopes to administer the remainder of the vaccinations to more of their most critical frontline workers by Friday.

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