First COVID-19 vaccines in Duluth administered at Essentia Health
Employees were given the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires two doses 21 days apart to be fully effective.
About 120 of Essentia Health's frontline workers, those involved in directly caring for COVID-19 patients, were vaccinated Thursday afternoon in Duluth.
Employees were given the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which received emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, according to a news release. The vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart to be fully effective.
According to the release, the room was filled with "whoops, cheers and applause" when the first vaccine was administered to respiratory therapist Bill Simmons.
“This is truly an historic day,” said Dr. Richard Vetter, chief medical officer for Essentia Health’s West Market. “The availability of this vaccine provides hope and encouragement for all of us to continue our fight against this virus.”
Essentia Health received its initial shipment of 975 doses of the vaccine.
Essentia Health receives first vaccine shipment in Duluth
In order to adhere to CDC and Minnesota Health Department guidelines for distribution, health care providers and residents of long-term-care facilities will receive the vaccine in the first phase. Essential workers such as teachers, police officers and adults with high-risk medical conditions and those over age 65 will be in the second phase.
“The availability of an effective and safe vaccine is a critical step in protecting our health care workers, patients and communities,” Vetter said.
Until a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, health officials maintain that wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and frequent hand-washing continues to be necessary.