BALTIMORE — Five University of Maryland Medical System frontline healthcare workers received the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines on Monday.
The vaccinated staff includes, two physicians, a nurse, a respiratory therapist, and an environmental service worker.
UMMS received one tray of 975 vaccine doses and is in the process of allocating doses across the System, with additional vaccine delivery expected later this week.
Shawn Hendricks, who is the director of nursing at the University of Maryland Medical Center, was the first to receive the vaccine.
“This is…I think a saving grace,” she said.
Hendricks oversees multiple COVID-19 units. She said the pandemic has taken a toll on her both professionally and personally.
“My mother had COVID. My brother had COVID. My brother-in law had COVID. My mother took two months of being in the hospital to recover,” she said.
She said she has yet to experience any side effects and the describes the vaccine as less painful than the flu shot.
"It's unfortunate, but sometimes we wait until it hits home for it to be real, but it is real and we’ve seen it all around us so now it’s time for us to do something about it,” she said.
Hendricks said she knows there will still be people hesitant to take the vaccine, especially the black community because of the history of mistreatment when it comes to medical research.
But, she believes the vaccine is safe. She hopes to lead by example and encourages others to take it.
“If we don’t do widespread vaccination, I only see this pandemic getting worse,” she said.
“For many months, we have been looking forward to the day when vaccines would be available to protect our healthcare workers and very soon for the community at large,” said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and CEO of UMMS. “As we begin vaccinations, and finally begin the process of ending this pandemic, I’m thankful to our UMMS and UM School of Medicine colleagues who have been working tirelessly to care for our community and lead in the development of innovative treatments and vaccines.”
Other staff who received the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday include:
- Michael Winters, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Vice Chair for Clinical and Administrative Affairs for UMSOM’s Department of Emergency Medicine, works as a physician in UMMC’s Adult Emergency Department.
- Sharon Henry, MD, is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is Director of the Division of Wound Healing and Metabolism at UMMC’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
- In her role as a respiratory therapist at the UMMC Downtown Campus, Daisy Solares, RRT, has taken care of patients with injuries from relatively minor to some of the most severe, and has been trained to provide care in nine of the Intensive Care Units across the hospital, spanning from medical to trauma. A Baltimore City resident, Solares has been a respiratory therapist at UMMC since July 2014 and has provided care for COVID patients.
- Baltimore City resident William Thomas is a 25-year employee working in Environmental Services at the UMMC Midtown Campus.
UMMS will continue to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers across the organization as vaccine supply becomes available.
You can check out the video below of UMMS receiving its first Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccination shipment Monday morning.