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Aileen Bermudez receives the first COVID-19 vaccination at Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Sarasota Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 2 months ago

Sarasota Memorial Hospital begins COVID-19 vaccinations

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The hospital received the Moderna vaccine today and will focus on vaccinating its workforce.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

Sarasota Memorial Hospital received 9,600 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and began vaccinating healthcare workers today, which hospital officials hailed as an important step toward addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospital received a supply of the Moderna vaccine this morning and started distribution by 12:30 p.m., SMH announced in a release. Jamie Kisgen, infectious disease pharmacy manager at SMH, called the arrival of the vaccine the greatest moment the hospital has had during the pandemic and a welcome development for employees after a difficult year.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in storage at Sarasota Memorial Hospital
A shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Sarasota Memorial Hospital today, and SMH has already begun distributing the vaccine to workers. Image courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

“It was a wave of relief,” Kisgen said. “It was excitement; it was joy; it was hope.”

Because supplies are limited, SMH is initially focused on vaccinating workers. The hospital plans to vaccinate about 575 staff members and physicians daily during the next few weeks, beginning with frontline workers. As of 2 p.m., the hospital said it had vaccinated more than 200 employees.

Aileen Bermudez, a nurse at SMH, was the first recipient of the vaccine. She called the vaccination a historical event and urged others to seek it out when it becomes available.

“I would encourage everyone to get yourselves vaccinated — for your family, for your loved ones, so we can beat this,” Bermudez said.

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