CAMC administers first 50 COVID-19 vaccinations to staff

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — One thousand doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine made its way to Charleston where the Charleston Area Medical Center, or CAMC, administered its first 50 doses to its hospital staff today.

According to Dr. Adam Crawford, an emergency medicine physician and the very first staff member to get the vaccination, it was less painful than the flu shot.

“I think it’s the first of many steps so I think we can’t forget social distancing and masking, I think those things are going to remain important for a long time to come,” he said.

According to Dr. Crawford, their whole health system has been severely strained under COVID-19, on Tuesday alone the hospital had 100 patients with COVID-19.

CAMC nurse Kelly Harrison had previously contracted COVID-19 and she says she was so ill, there are days she can’t even remember.

She was the second up for vaccination.

“I feel like it’s very important to continue to increase my antibodies or prolong those, and hope that I can keep someone safe including my family,” she said.

Dr. Fred Kerns, CAMC’s epidemiologist was next, he says the vaccine will give the staff more confidence – but adds it’s only a first step.

“Vaccinating your healthcare workers won’t cut down admissions one bit, it’ll be when the nursing homes and the general public gets it,” said Dr. Kerns.

After receiving the injections, they had to wait 15 minutes to see if any had an adverse reaction to the shot.

But all you could see were smiles behind the masks – and the laughter.

Health officials say the vaccine has a short lifespan – just six hours after being taken out of the fridge.

That’s why everyone administering the vaccine here in West Virginia is moving as quickly as possible – its use it or lose it.

CAMC says their next shipment will be 900 doses.

There is no rank among the hospital workers for who gets it next, it’s based on proximity to COVID-19 patients.

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