Columbus, OH,
20:50 PM

Columbus Dispatch: OhioHealth Begins COVID-19 Vaccinations for Associates

Less than 24 hours after receiving its shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, OhioHealth began vaccinating frontline associates at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.  Frontline workers include doctors and nurses, but also associates like housekeeping and food delivery, who have interaction with patients.  About 50 frontline associates were vaccinated during the first day, with the first two shots of the day happening just after 8 a.m.

"It's tremendously exciting," said Steve Markovich, MD, OhioHealth president and CEO, in an interview with Columbus Dispatch reporter Max Filby. "It represents the culmination of an immense amount of work on a global scale. It all comes down to today where we get to start this vaccination process that hopefully, over time, is going to save thousands and thousands of lives. It's just, it's very emotional, it's very moving."

"I'm so excited to get the vaccine," Simi Bhullar, DO, told the Dispatch.  Dr. Bhullar was one of the first two OhioHealth associates to be vaccinated.  She received her vaccination from Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases. "You know, as a health care worker, we've been talking about it a lot. My colleagues and I are delighted that this is here and available, allows us to be saved, and to be safe for our patients and our families. So it's a really important day for us."

However, the vaccine arrival does not mean life is going to get back to normal right away.

"We're talking about the vaccine as a ray of sunshine. But really, we're still in an awful part of the pandemic," Dr. Gastaldo told the Dispatch. "These are the darkest days. Getting vaccinations started today is not going to change any of that. The full effects of the vaccines are not going to be felt for months and months."

To read the full story in The Columbus Dispatch and hear from others who were vaccinated, click on their logo below