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Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital begins COVID-19 vaccination for frontline caregivers

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MERRILL Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital began providing COVID-19 vaccines to frontline caregivers on Thursday, January 7.
Radiologic technologist Jason Romig and Patient Access Representative Amber LePage were among the first Merrill-based Ascension associates to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The effort is part of a phased program that will expand to other caregivers and locations as more doses become available and the distribution process progresses.
We are confident that our plan will safely and effectively contribute to the protection of the communities we are privileged to serve, said Gregory Brusko, DO, clinical director of Ascension Wisconsin.
Ascension Wisconsin follows guidelines issued by the CDC and recommendations from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
We are grateful for everyone who made this vaccine possible and for the continued dedication of our selfless caregivers, said Jonathon Matuszewski, Executive Director of Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital. Our initial vaccine distribution will include our frontline healthcare workers and will soon reach EMS community partners. As we wait for the widespread distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, it will be essential for our entire community to continue to wear masks, watch the distance from others, and wash our hands frequently to protect ourselves and those around us.
In accordance with these guidelines, among the first group eligible to receive vaccines are frontline caregivers, especially those serving in emergency departments, COVID-19 units and intensive care units. For Ascension, this includes both Associates and Affiliate Physicians and Providers.
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been shown to be safe and effective, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for emergency use.
The vaccination of frontline caregivers comes after Ascension developed a working group to establish a comprehensive framework for equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for internal and external distribution, recognizing the need for a coordinated response.
We strongly encourage all of our associates to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them, said Bernie Sherry, ministry market manager, Ascension Wisconsin. We believe this is the right thing to do to protect our associates and those we are privileged to serve.
All approved vaccines require extensive research, documentation, and closely monitored clinical trials to determine their efficacy and safety before being submitted by pharmaceutical companies for approval. Ascension has been involved in some of these clinical trials, with Ascension St. Vincents in Birmingham, Alabama, participating in trials for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna.
It is vitally important that people continue to access the health care they need, both for emergencies and chronic illnesses, Brusko said. By encouraging our caregivers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we are taking an extra step to assure those we serve that we are doing all we can to keep our hospitals, clinics and other care sites safe.
Ascension hospitals and emergency rooms remain well prepared to safely care for people with symptoms of heart attack, stroke, respiratory distress, emerging mental health issues or other serious illnesses or injuries.
Many healthcare workers and first responders are receiving the first wave of vaccines available, as these professions are exposed to COVID-19 at higher rates. Residents of long-term care facilities and those with high-risk health conditions should also receive vaccines early, according to CDC guidelines.
When COVID-19 vaccines become available to consumers, Ascension Wisconsin healthcare sites will share information on vaccine availability.
Additional information, including FAQs, on the COVID-19 vaccine is available at https://healthcare.ascension.org/covid-19/covid-vaccine.
About Ascension Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, Ascension operates 24 hospital campuses, more than 100 related health facilities and employs more than 1,200 primary and specialty care clinicians from Racine to Eagle River. Serving Wisconsin since 1848, Ascension is a faith-based health care organization committed to providing compassionate and personalized care to all, with special attention to those living in poverty and the most vulnerable. The Ascension is the largest nonprofit Catholic healthcare system in the United States, operating more than 2,600 care sites – including 145 hospitals and more than 40 facilities for the elderly – in 19 states and the District of Columbia.



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