Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, began administering the long-anticipated Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 on Dec. 22.
Initial vaccinations will be disseminated to hospital employees and physicians with the highest levels of patient interaction and those specifically caring for COVID-19 patients.
During a phased process, eventually all employees and physicians who are interested in receiving the vaccine will have an opportunity to be vaccinated.
The Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses 28 days apart, recently received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Emergency Use Authorization authority allows the FDA to help strengthen the nation’s public health protections against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats by facilitating the availability and use of medical counter measures needed during public health emergencies. For the FDA to issue an EUA, safety and efficacy must be demonstrated, and certain criteria must be met, including that there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.
“This is a moment we’ve long anticipated,” said Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, president and CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. “For the past nine months, our dedicated and selfless healthcare heroes have been working on the front lines, committed to saving lives while often risking their own. We are fortunate to be one of the first recipients of the Moderna vaccine, one which has been shown to be 94% effective in preventing COVID-19.”
Hirsch said that the arrival of the Moderna vaccine is extremely positive, yet “we need to remind people that while the vaccine is expected to prevent disease or decrease its severity, we cannot say for certain that a vaccinated individual can no longer transmit the disease. Therefore, it is prudent, especially during the impending holiday season, that we all continue to wear our face coverings, practice social distancing and engage in proper handwashing protocol.”
Saint Peter’s will administer the vaccine in accordance with recommendations from the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); other federal agencies; and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). Due to the potential for limited initial supply, Saint Peter’s interdisciplinary task force, led by Linda Carroll, MSN, RN, RN-BC, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, will administer the vaccine in phases based on prioritization of those employees with the highest levels of patient interaction and those caring for COVID-19 patients.
Visit saintpetershcs.com or call 732-745-8600 for more information.