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First COVID-19 vaccine administered at Salem Hospital. Safety measures remain critical
The Oregon Herald Staff
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SALEM, Oregon - Thursday morning, Salem Hospital received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19. Upon arrival, hospital staff moved the 975 doses into an on-site freezer. Other staff members began setting up the first vaccination clinic, putting in motion plans laid out, practiced and rehearsed over the past month.

At 2:00 p.m., Cheryl Wolfe, RN, Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics president and CEO, administered the first dose to Katherine Landen, MD, an emergency room physician. Providers and staff from areas with close daily contact with COVID patients were also vaccinated, including individuals from the ICU, environmental services, patient transport and floor nurses.

“The impact COVID-19 has had on our community and far beyond is difficult to put into words.” Wolfe said, “Today is historic and I am honored to be present as healing begins. I am deeply proud of our community and those who have so selflessly stepped into harm’s way to care for all of us during this time.”

Salem Health will continue administering the first shipment of vaccines to other employees and providers with the most risk of exposure to COVID. This includes work areas such as the emergency department, intensive care units, medical surgical units, medical unit, environmental services, phlebotomy, patient transport and all Salem Health Medical Group clinics staff who treat patients with COVID or COVID like symptoms. In total, approximately 1,500 Salem Health employees fall into this category. More vaccines are expected next week and as they arrive, more employees and providers will receive the vaccine.

The arrival of a vaccine brings hope that an end to the pandemic is within sight. But in the meantime, health care officials urge community members to do their part by adhering to safety measures outlined by federal and state authorities to keep the virus from spreading: Wear a mask, physically distance from others, wash your hands, avoid gatherings and stay home when you’re sick.

About Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics. Salem Health offers exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. It comprises hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit us at www.salemhealth.org; “Like” us on www.facebook.com/salemhealth; follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at www.youtube.com/salemhealth.