Cape Cod Healthcare gave out its first COVID-19 vaccines to frontline health care workers on Tuesday.
“Are you feeling OK to get your shot?” a provider asked the nurse who received the first vaccine as co-workers looked on.
“I am,” she replied.
“Good. So I just want you to hold this up for me, and I am going to clean you off, and I’m going to give you your first COVID shot.”
“Yay! I’m so excited!” the nurse said.
“COVID vaccine — thank God they’re here. A little pinch. And there you go.”
CEO Mike Lauf said the health system conducted a test run, inoculating 30 employees at Cape Cod Hospital and 20 at Falmouth Hospital on the first afternoon.
“It's an exciting day, but a sobering day at the same time,” he said.
Mass vaccination of employees was slated to begin Wednesday morning at 5 a.m. The hospitals plan to continue vaccinating up to 500 workers a day until all 2,925 doses have been administered.
Lauf would like to have the first round done by Christmas, he said.
He said his frontline employees have seen a lot in the long months they’ve been caring for COVID-19 patients.
“It provides a ray of light and hope for our frontline caregivers that have been battling this treacherous disease for upwards of ten months,” he said.
He says he hopes to get authorization to inoculate first responders as well — and the additional doses that would be necessary — but first, he needs the second round of doses for people receiving it now.
The Pfizer vaccine requires a second dose in three weeks, and those have not yet arrived.
Cape Cod Healthcare is not making the vaccine mandatory for employees.
Lauf said a small number of employees have said they don’t want the COVID-19 vaccine, and a “certain percentage” who want it don’t want to be the first to get it.
“And then I think there's a large bucket of employees that want it, trust the science and want to … begin the process of protecting themselves,” he said.