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Blaise Vitale, MD, is one of the first recipients of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at BMC.

Burnett Medical Center recently received their first supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. The purpose was for frontline healthcare workers and the continuing care center residents earlier this month.

The Pfizer vaccine was delivered under the FDA authorization to give the vaccine to categories first and it is unknown when the public could get vaccinated.

“The FDA has only authorized frontline healthcare workers, nursing home residents and nursing home staff to receive the vaccine. We are waiting for federal and state guidance on administering the vaccine to the public and will do all that we can as soon as we can” Ned Moore, Burnett Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer said.

After the first shipment of 49,725 doses statewide, Gov. Tony Evers called on the federal government to send more of the vaccine.

“This is unacceptable. Wisconsin citizens deserve the vaccine the federal government promised,” said Gov. Evers. “Our healthcare workers and long-term care residents need this vaccine that is ready and available. We call on the federal government to send us more vaccine without delay.”

There were a number of protocols that needed to be followed when the vaccine arrived at Burnett Medical Center.

“All of the staff who stores, handles, and/or administers the vaccine had to receive specific COVID-19 vaccine training,” Halle Pardun of BMC told the Sentinel. “When Burnett Medical Center received their shipment of vaccines, per protocol, they were given 120 hours to administer the vaccine.”

BMC staff and continuing care residents received the first dose of the vaccine within 48 hours and the second dose of the vaccine will be administered three weeks later.

Pardun said, “We are happy to report that all the residents wishing to get the first dose of the vaccine received.”

Burnett Medical Center’s Director of Pharmacy, Eric Stomberg, PharmD, wants you to know this vaccine is safe and one of the most effective vaccines that has ever come to market. He says, “The technology used to develop this vaccine is not new— it has been researched for more than 30 years. There were also no short cuts taken to develop this vaccine. It went through all the required clinical trial phases and was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).”

Pardun added, for at-risk residents it is important to stay safe now that a safe and effective vaccine is becoming available.

“It is especially important for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to protect themselves from getting COVID-19,” Pardun said. “The best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of the virus is to limit interactions with other people as much as possible and to take precautions when interacting with others such as, wear a mask and social distance.”