OGDENSBURG — Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center became one of the first hospitals in St. Lawrence County to administer the primary doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccinations on Wednesday.

A total of 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the hospital on Tuesday and were readily available the following day to any Claxton-Hepburn health care worker who chose to get vaccinated.

“The vaccine helps us to protect the most valuable asset we have, being the frontline health care workers,” said Gregory Guimond, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s director of pharmacy. “They keep the hospital going and provide care to the community.”

Medical center begins vaccinating workers

Bottles of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are seen in a refrigerator at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Rich Duvall, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s president and chief executive officer, is hopeful every health care worker within the facility will be vaccinated within five to seven days, or sooner. He noted the vaccine can provide much-needed immunity to those working in and around COVID-19.

Following the primary dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination, those who are vaccinated will also have to receive a booster shot of the same vaccine 28 days later. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is holding the booster shot in the interim and will then provide the hospital access.

The CDC is providing two types of COVID-19 vaccinations, which include the Moderna vaccine, shown to be 94.1% effective with 100 micrograms of the vaccine, as well as the Pfizer vaccine, shown to be 95% effective with 30 micrograms of the vaccine.

“This is only one part in stopping the spread,” said Brandon Bowline, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s chief operating officer. “We still have to be mindful of protocols, such as social distancing and wearing masks.”

On Monday, 190 health care workers at the Canton-Potsdam Hospital received the primary dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and will receive a booster shot of the same vaccine in 21 days.

According to Claxton-Hepburn registered nurse Sarah Weir, those who received the Pfizer vaccine reported a sore arm as their only side effect, much like the flu shot.

“Vaccines have been around for medical treatment for hundreds of years,” Mr. Guimond said. “They’ve proven to stop and treat deadly diseases such as COVID-19.”

Aid for vaccine rollout sought

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s Dr. Arthur Fedorowicz receives the Moderna coronavirus vaccine Dec. 23. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

The CDC is setting the guidelines for whom the vaccine will next be available.

Claxton-Hepburn registered nurse Miranda Simpson described the CDC’s guidelines as a matrix based on people’s ages, jobs and their exposures to COVID-19.

Mr. Duvall noted that being vaccinated is the responsible thing to do to protect one another and the community from the disease, but added that it’s a personal choice.

Ms. Simpson also showed a sense of optimism and highlighted the uniqueness of the time.

“The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel — a step towards normalcy,” Ms. Simpson said. “It’s pretty awesome to see something be created like this and be a part of it. I never thought this is something I’d be able to experience in my nursing career.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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