Cincinnati Children’s Gives First Round of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Cincinnati Children’s Gives First Round of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Employees in first phase to receive vaccine produced by Moderna

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Frontline workers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the region’s largest healthcare employer, started receiving the first of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine today.

“This is a huge day at Cincinnati Children’s,” said Michael Fisher, President and CEO of the medical center. “First, our team has been working so hard and doing such a good job with masking, distancing and hand hygiene-all the things we need to be doing-but this extra layer of protection is just phenomenal. The vaccine will allow our employees to continue to deliver exceptional quality and compassionate care to children and their families.”

In following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s  Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a multi-disciplinary group at Cincinnati Children’s came together to determine an evidence-based, practical, ethical, and empathetic allocation plan for employees who want to receive the vaccine.

“This has been a trying time for many of us, but the arrival and distribution of the vaccine today represents a powerful reason for hope, optimism, and celebration,” said Hector Wong, MD, Vice Chair of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s.

Employees have been classified into phases based on their day-to-day job functions, risk of uncontrolled exposure to COVID-19, and essential service they provide to patients, families and the medical center. As supplies of the vaccine arrive, they are allocated randomly to employees within the first phase. The first phase consists of about 5,000 employees.

One of the first employees to be vaccinated was Victoria Hartwell, a physician who works in the emergency department at Cincinnati Children’s.

“As a frontline provider in the ED, I never know the status of my patients-but this is a way to protect myself and my family,” Hartwell said. “I’m excited to finally have a little bit of hope.”

When everyone from the first phase who wishes to be vaccinated has been, Cincinnati Children’s will move to the second phase and subsequent ones. Eventually, every one of the more than 16,000 employees who wants to be vaccinated will be. It’s a process that will take several months.

Cincinnati Children’s has a rich history when it comes to medical breakthroughs. Perhaps most notable is the Sabin Oral Polio Vaccine. The live oral vaccine developed at Cincinnati Children's in the late 1950s by Albert Sabin, MD, was used to eradicate polio throughout the world.

“For more than 25 years, Cincinnati Children’s has been one of nine Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units in the U.S. established by the National Institutes of Health,” said Robert Frenck, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s. “The long history of excellence in developing and testing of vaccines resulted in Cincinnati Children’s being a leader with the Corona Virus Prevention Network, which was established by Operation Warp Speed to test COVID vaccines.”

Cincinnati Children’s is one of four sites in the U.S. participating in a Phase 1 and 2 clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine in adults and adolescents created by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. The hospital is also part of the clinical trial for the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

“In the future, I think we will be able to reflect proudly on the role that Cincinnati Children’s and the Vaccine Research Center played in eradicating this pandemic,” Frenck said.

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Shannon Kettler