McLeod Health vaccinated its first physicians for COVID-19 on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Dr. Jeremy Robertson, Chief Medical Officer for McLeod Regional Medical Center and an Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Dale Lusk, Corporate Chief Medical Officer for McLeod Health, and Dr. Peter Hyman, an Emergency Medicine Physician and Medical Director of McLeod Healthier You, received the first doses of the vaccine at McLeod.
Following the receipt of his vaccine, Dr. Lusk said, “I think this is a great opportunity for us as health care providers to be a good example and to set the stage. This is one of the first real tools that we have to actually fight this virus. I am excited about the prospects of the vaccine and the effect it will have for the entire population.”
Dr. Robertson added, “I’m feeling hopeful and grateful that we have a highly efficacious vaccine that has been rolled out in record setting time while still going through all the typical safety and studies that vaccines would normally go through. It is a real blessing to be able to receive this vaccine. As an emergency department provider, this vaccine makes me feel safer while doing my job of taking care of others.”
“I wanted to take this vaccine to show the confidence in the system on what we have gone through to get the vaccine,” said Dr. Hyman. “I also provide care to patients in our emergency department and it makes me feel more comfortable in providing care to the patient after receiving this vaccine.”
On the science behind the vaccine, Dr. Lusk explained, “It is human nature to be weary of something new. But, this vaccine has been studied significantly and has gone through a very rigorous scientific method of development. This vaccine has shown excellent effectiveness against the virus and a great safety profile. I think it is important as providers when a patient comes to us and ask if they should receive the vaccine that we have faith in the process and that we are willing to take it ourselves initially.”
Common side effects of the vaccine include soreness at the injection site, headache, fatigue, fever or muscle pain. This is a two-dose vaccine with the second dose due within 21 days. It may take several weeks for individuals to develop immunity after completing both injections.
The vaccines are being administered by McLeod Occupational Health based on a three-phase distribution plan.
Phase One includes employees in direct care of COVID-19 patients and all McLeod Health active and affiliate medical staff physicians.
Phase Two will include employees in Inpatient and Outpatient Departments with Direct Patient Care responsibilities.
Phase Three will include employees who serve in non-direct patient care departments.
The roll out to McLeod Health staff members by campus includes:
McLeod Regional Medical Center – Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 15
McLeod Health Cheraw – Wednesday, Dec. 16
McLeod Health Seacoast – Thursday, Dec. 17
McLeod Health Clarendon – Thursday, Dec. 17
McLeod Health Dillon – Friday, Dec. 18
McLeod Health Loris – Monday, Dec. 21