Russell Co. Hospital administers first vaccines to staff

Russell County Hospital was able to administer its first vaccines to staff on Tuesday morning, with frontline direct-care employees being among the first staff members to receive the vaccine.

Russell County Hospital CEO Patrick Branco said the hospital received the first shipment of Moderna vaccines Monday afternoon. He and RCH Chief Medical Officer Rick Miles were the first two to get the vaccine Tuesday morning as a sign of confidence and leadership.

Russell County Hospital CEO Patrick Branco prepares to receive the initial dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Rick Miles receives the initial COVID-19 Moderna vaccine.

“It’s just to instill confidence and show that this is a vaccine worth getting and a critical step toward moving herd immunity,” Branco said. “The more people that develop levels of immunity, the better it is for everyone.”

Miles said he believes the vaccine is both safe and effective.

“This is our way of saying that we trust this vaccine,” Miles said. “I know a lot of people are hesitant and have some distrust because they feel like it was rushed through, but this has been checked out medically extremely well. It’s probably been checked out even more strongly than a lot of others because of the politics involved.”

Nurse Nicole Garner was one of the first direct care employees to receive the vaccine. Garner said she was glad to receive the first dose of the vaccine as a nurse that frequently cares for COVID-positive patients.

Branco said the hospital received 100 doses of the vaccine Monday afternoon and planned to administer 50 on Tuesday. Five doctors at Russell County were among those being vaccinated Tuesday, along with several nurses, technicians, and other frontline workers.

“It’s going to be a good first day,” Branco said.

He added that doses would be staggered and no more than half of any department would receive them at the same time.

This, Branco said, is a simple precautionary measure in case any employees do have adverse reactions. However, Branco said he did not expect that to occur, as adverse reactions to the vaccine have been rare.

“We certainly don’t anticipate that, but we believe it’s always best to be prepared,” Branco said.

Branco said he expects the hospital to get about 100 doses per week over the next few weeks, vaccinating frontline direct-care workers, then non-direct patient care workers and support staff.


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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.