CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Regional administered its first COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 8:43 a.m. to critical care nurse Donna Snow, RN.
“In following the federal and state-approved guidelines of vaccine administration, we are excited to report that one of our frontline critical care nurses was first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at our facility,” Cullman Regional Chief Medical Officer William Smith, MD said.
Cullman Regional was one of 13 health systems in the state of Alabama selected to provide vaccinations to frontline health care workers in the first round of vaccination distributions and was one of the first three facilities to receive its allocation of vaccines Monday, Dec. 14.
“Our team has been working diligently to get ready to administer these vaccinations to our team members upon receiving our allocation,” said Smith. “This preparation allowed us to begin administering them almost immediately after they were received.”
Donna Snow, RN has been a nurse for 42 years. Snow holds additional certifications in cardiac medicine and acute/critical care. Snow described the disease caused by this novel coronavirus as “scary.” Cullman Regional currently has more critically-ill patients than normal for this time of year.
“The care required for these patients is challenging,” Snow said. “Not only do the clinical staff have to take more time to dress in the protective gear, but the care of the patients takes more time as well.”
She continued, “We have more patients on ventilators, and we are ‘proning’ patients – or putting patients face down rather than on their backs – which helps improve airflow. This process takes five to six nurses.”
According to Snow, some people will not get sick, but those who do are fighting for their lives without their loved ones by their bedsides.
“I’m sick of hearing that it’s just like the flu; it’s not the flu,” said Snow.
Snow said she is excited to be the first to receive the vaccine at Cullman Regional.
“I’m hopeful that more people are able to take the vaccine so we can begin to see a decline in the number of critically-ill patients and families impacted by this disease,” she said.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama will receive an initial allocation of 40,950 Pfizer vaccines which will be distributed to 13 health systems and 15 different locations. Of that total, Cullman Regional will receive 1,950 vaccinations which will be distributed to EMS staff (15% of allocation), physicians (15% of allocation), hospital staff (50% of allocation), and additional hospital staff and physicians in a 40-mile radius (20% of allocation).
Cullman Regional has set up a Vaccination Clinic for frontline health care workers which will begin this week. Vaccines will be given by appointment only in order to accommodate all parties in a timely manner. The vaccine requires each dose to be defrosted prior to use and must be used within a limited time frame; therefore, appointments will be required in order to ensure efficient use of all allocated vaccinations.
Any outside hospitals and physicians interested in receiving vaccination information should call 256-737-2754 for additional instructions. Community members interested in getting more information about community vaccination clinics as more vaccine becomes available can sign up to receive updates from Cullman Regional by visiting www.CullmanRegional.com/covidvaccine. For more information about Cullman Regional, call 256-737-2000 or visit www.CullmanRegional.com.