COVID vaccine arrives

Front-line doctor and nurse get the first shots at Enloe Medical Center

Wes Matthews (center) vaccinates nurse Lydia Banks for coronavirus as Dr. James Moore awaits any sign of side effects this afternoon (Dec. 17) at the Enloe Conference Center. (Photo by Evan Tuchinsky)

Showing no reaction other than self-proclaimed excitement, Dr. James Moore received the first COVID-19 vaccination from the initial batch of vaccine Enloe Medical Center received today (Dec. 17).

Moore, an emergency room physician, took a break in his shift to take the shot. Critical-care nurse Lydia Banks got vaccinated immediately after and also had no immediate adverse effects. Enloe plans to inoculate all of its employees, beginning with those most directly exposed to coronavirus patients, plus front-line providers from outside of the medical center.

“This [vaccine] is the first breath of good news in months and months and months,” Moore told a dozen members of hospital staff and media in the Enloe Conference Center. “I feel the tide is turning.”

Moore said he’d admitted two patients with COVID just during the day’s shift and that hospitalizations have doubled this month, “with no slowing down in sight.” Enloe, which draws from beyond Butte County, has 50 coronavirus patients hospitalized today.

Dr. Marcia Nelson, Enloe’s vice president of medical affairs, said the hospital will start by vaccinating caregivers who consistently treat COVID, then commence with other employees Monday.

Both Moore and Banks expressed confidence in the vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer. The federal government approved a second vaccine, by Moderna, today.

“The benefit outweighs the risks,” Banks said of vaccination for COVID.

Speaking with the CN&R, Moore further explained that scientists developed, tested and proved the safety of this vaccine quickly because of worldwide attention focused on the disease coupled with the prevalence of COVID-19.

“Labs were operating 24 hours a day to find that proper mix, that vaccine that would work,” he said. Once that happened, he continued, clinical trials went fast because Pfizer was able to line up 45,000 COVID-positive patients amid a pandemic with millions sick at once, rather than spend years searching. Results showed 95 percent efficacy for Pfizer’s vaccine.

“So it wasn’t rushed through,” Moore concluded. “I have complete confidence that the CDC and all the powers that be, the science people who are smarter than me, did it the right way. They’re not unleashing something that’s unsafe for the general population.”

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