“Our first shipment of the Moderna COVID vaccine arrived on Wednesday, Dec. 23,” said Luke Beirl, CEO of Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Water’s Edge (HAMHWE). “We administered our first vaccine on Thursday, Dec. 24, just in time for Christmas.”
The first vaccines were administered to Emergency Room Registered Nurse Kimberly (Renee) Metcalf and General Surgeon Dr. Vicentiu Andrei.
As a frontline health care worker, Renee said that receiving the vaccine provides reassurance that she can protect her patients and herself. Beirl expressed his gratitude directly to Renee.
“I want to thank you personally for all of the work you and our frontline health care workers have done,” he said. “It hasn’t been an easy nine months, but the expertise and courage you all show every single day for the community we know and love is something we are all extremely grateful for. And thank you for being the very first vaccine recipient in Hayward, Wisconsin.”
Dr. Andrei said he received the vaccine because, “I can be an example to my patients that they should trust the medical science behind the vaccine and trust everything that needs to be done to curtail the pandemic, because without trust we cannot make progress.”
In January, a separate round of vaccines will arrive from Walgreens pharmacy for Water’s Edge staff and residents. As determined by federal guidelines, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are responsible for administering the vaccine to long-term care facilities nationwide. Following the vaccination of care center residents and staff, Walgreens will begin vaccinating those who live and work in the assisted living facilities.
“We hope that vaccination will begin in Water’s Edge in early January,” said Heather Sheehan, vice president of senior services. “Keeping our workforce and those who live with us safe is our top priority. We are thankful that along with health care workers the state has designated our residents and tenants to be among the first to receive the vaccine.”
HAMHWE is following CDC vaccination guidelines as to whom they are able to vaccinate, which at this time includes physicians and employees. The hospital will also support the vaccination of additional community health care workers, including EMTs, paramedics and those working in clinics, hospice, dental offices and school nurses.
“All health care providers are receiving a high volume of calls from the community asking when they can receive the vaccine,” Beirl said. “We are pleased to hear that people are eager to receive the vaccine, but at this time we do not know when vaccinations will be available for the community."
He added, “We continue to work closely with Sawyer County Public Health, NorthLakes Community Clinic, Essentia Health and LCO Community Health Center to coordinate community services related to COVID-19. Our regional vaccination coordination will include working with these organizations and agencies as well as additional public health agencies, pharmacies and hospital partners.”
More information on vaccine tiers and distribution to the community will be shared on the websites and Facebook pages for the county’s public health department and www.haywardmemorialhospital.com when the information is available.