Litchfield, Minn. – Meeker Memorial Hospital & Clinics received its first allotment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and began administering the vaccine to frontline health care workers early this morning. Until the vaccine becomes widely available, Meeker Memorial is urging community members to be patient, continue to wear masks, and social distance while initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are distributed.
“We have been working with the South Central Healthcare Coalition and other partners to help ensure that the vaccine gets to those who are in priority populations,” says Ann Lien, Chief Quality Officer and Incident Commander for Meeker Memorial. “The fact is that there are limited doses of the vaccine available during these initial shipments, and it will take time, perhaps months, before it’s readily available to the general public.”
Dr. Deb Peterson, Chief Medical Officer and Dr. Tim Peterson, General Surgeon, were among the first to be vaccinated at Meeker Memorial. “The past months have been challenging here at Meeker Memorial and for our community,” said Dr. Deb Peterson. “The arrival of the vaccine means there is hope for better days ahead.” Vaccination of other frontline health care workers at Meeker Memorial will continue throughout the remainder of the day. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses with the second dose administered in 21 days.
“We are confident that the vaccine is safe, as it has been proven to be 95-percent effective in clinical trials.” says Eric Weller, Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coordinator for the South Central Healthcare Coalition. “We also know that the arrival of the vaccine does not mean an immediate end to this pandemic. People will still need to wear masks, social distance and seek medical care if they are feeling ill.”
Meeker Memorial providers and staff join with other local, regional and state leaders in encouraging people to remain home as much as possible, stay at least 6 feet away from other people if you are in public places, telework if you can, and avoid close contact with people who are sick. In addition, if you are 65 or older or have certain underlying medical conditions, stay at home and avoid situations where you could be exposed, including travel.
Details about the further availability of the COVID-19 vaccine will be released when they become available.