ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 16, 2020 – AdventHealth marked a historic day as COVID-19 vaccinations began for frontline team members at its Orlando and Celebration campuses this morning, just one day after receiving its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.
“This is a milestone. It’s a huge one,” said Dr. Steven R. Smith, AdventHealth’s chief scientific officer. “We’ve looked very hard at the safety data. Everything looks great.”
Dr. Eduardo Oliveira, executive medical director for critical care services, is among the thousands of AdventHealth physicians, nurses and other team members signed up to receive the vaccine.
“Health care workers at the frontline are a little tired, but many of them have expressed that this is what they went into medicine for – that moment of fulfillment,” said Oliveira. “We are really hoping the vaccinations will go viral and we’ll be able to get over this.”
In addition to vaccinating its own frontline team members, AdventHealth will distribute vaccines to other local health care systems including HCA, Nemours Children’s Health System and Orlando Health.
Susan Upper, nurse manager in the COVID-19 Progressive Care Unit (PCU) at AdventHealth Orlando, was vaccinated and on Wednesday encouraged the community to do the same.
“We need to stop this pandemic,” said Upper. “We need an end to this. It’s been a tough nine months. We need to get ahead of this, and the only way to get ahead of it is to get vaccinated.”
The clinicians are confident in the safety of the vaccine and encourage others to move forward with vaccinations once they are eligible to receive them.
“A lot of times taking the vaccine is not about yourself; it’s about taking care of your family and contributing to the common good,” said Smith. “We’ve looked at all the data. Not only will I be willing to take the vaccine, but I will encourage my friends and family to do so as well.”
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