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Univ. of Iowa Health Care employees receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose

Officials with the University of Iowa Health Care said they’re the first in the state to begin vaccinating their employees.
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 6:40 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWQC) - Front-line healthcare workers received the first of many doses of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday. Officials with the University of Iowa Health Care said they’re the first in the state to begin vaccinating their employees.

Roughly one-thousand doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived at UIHC and more than 50 staff members were anticipated to be vaccinated on Monday.

“This has been somewhat of an endless, tiring pandemic, that really hasn’t given us too many things to be optimistic about, honestly, until now,” Suresh Gunasekaran, the CEO of UI Hospitals & Clinics.

David Conway, a registered nurse in the emergency department at UIHC, was the first employee to receive the vaccine.

“I’d like my colleagues to know that it was fast. It was painless and it’s the right thing to do. I would like the public to know that the vaccine is the right choice and it’s a great way to get ahead of this virus and trying to get things back to normal,” he said.

Dr. Patricia Winokur is the Principal Investigator for UI’s Pfizer clinical trial site and the Executive Dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. She said it was an honor to be part of the trial.

“I don’t think there’s anything that we’re going to see going into the history books in medicine that’s going to surpass this for quite some time and so to be part of it is an amazing and...it’s an emotional time,” she said.

It’s also a time of optimism as healthcare officials urge everyone to continue to stay vigilant.

“The good news now, however, is that you now know, hopefully, we’re in the last six to nine months of this. I mean, you can definitively say that we are reducing the risk but we’re not done until we’re done,” Gunasekaran said.

UIHC is anticipating that right under 1,000 employees will be vaccinated by the end of this week.

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