Orange County

‘We’re ready for it to come to an end’: First batch of AdventHealth frontline workers receive COVID-19 vaccine

ORLANDO, Fla. — The first batch of frontline workers at AdventHealth got Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

The shipment of vaccines arrived Tuesday in a FedEx truck and were carefully unloaded and put into freezers kept at subzero temperatures.


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Doctors, nurses, nutritional employees, staff members who clean rooms and several others who are assigned to areas that are at high risk will receive the vaccine first. The first workers got their shots Wednesday morning.

Sue Upper, who manages AdventHealth’s COVID-19 unit, was one of them.

“Personally, I decided to get vaccinated because we need to stop this pandemic,” she said. “We need to have an end to this. It’s been a rough nine months and we’re ready for it to come to an end.”

READ: Florida reports more than 11,500 new COVID-19 cases, 125 virus-related deaths

While some healthcare workers are still a little nervous to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Upper said those who have been in the thick of it are not.

“I think the frontline staff is pretty on board with the vaccine,” she said. “We haven’t had a lot of hesitation. They’re signing up and they’re ready to go.”

The hospital will use about 9,400 of its 20,000 doses.

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“We are convinced that this is a safe and effective vaccine,” said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief medical officer at AdventHealth hospitals in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. “This is a watershed moment. We will all remember where we were when this COVID-19 vaccine was released.”

The hospital plans to share the rest of the doses with other health care systems like Orlando Health and Nemours Childrens Hospital for their frontline workers.

“The promise that this has with actually saving lives and getting us out of this global disaster,” Finkler said. “It’s staggering.”

People in nursing homes will also start getting their vaccines Wednesday.

READ: ‘This is a big day’: Thousands of AdventHealth employees sign up to receive first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines

Gov. Ron DeSantis also laid out plans for what’s next when the Moderna vaccine is available.

“We’re getting about 370,000 Moderna vaccine during week two,” he said. “This week one with Pfizer and those doses will go to other hospitals.”

READ: ‘Liquid gold’: COVID-19 vaccines heading to frontline workers beginning Wednesday

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be taken twice to be 95% effective. Workers will take the vaccine again in 21 days.

Watch AdventHealth’s news conference in full below:

WATCH LIVE: AdventHealth officials providing COVID-19 vaccine update

WATCH LIVE: AdventHealth officials are providing an update on the COVID-19 vaccine as the first members of its staff are receiving their shots Wednesday morning. READ MORE >>>

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Q Mccray

Q McCray,

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.

Katlyn Brieskorn,

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.