UofL Health welcomed Governor Andy Beshear 14 Dec. to mark a historic moment in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The first vaccines shipped to Kentucky were administered at UofL Hospital, which received 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Today is a historic day in the commonwealth – we are at the beginning of the end of our war with COVID-19,” said Gov. Beshear, who was at UofL Hospital as UPS delivered the vaccines. “The Pfizer vaccine, which we believe to be 95% effective, is the defense we have needed to end this pandemic, and with the highly effective Moderna vaccine likely on its way to approval soon, we are all filled with hope for the first time in a very long time. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. To our front-line workers: we are forever grateful for your bravery, talents and compassion.”
The Governor watched as five UofL Health doctors and nurses, who have been working on the front lines to help Kentuckians during the once-in-100-years pandemic, received their vaccinations in public and before the media. Sarah Bishop, director of infection prevention at UofL Hospital, administered the vaccinations to all five.
Dr. Jason Smith, a front line emergency and trauma surgeon and UofL Health chief medical officer was the first to receive the vaccine.
“The arrival of this vaccine demonstrates the best of medicine and our commonwealth’s collaborative spirit,” said Dr. Smith. “For the first time, we now have a tool to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in a significant way. I appreciate the leadership of Gov. Beshear and UPS working to expedite getting this vaccine to our frontline health care workers. And I am humbled by the ongoing individual sacrifices of so many Kentuckians who continue to help through social distancing and masking until the vaccine is more widely available to the general population.”
Two UofL Health nurses and two UofL Physicians were the next in line.
LaShawn Scott has worked for UofL Health for more than 20 years as an infection prevention nurse. Scott has worked tirelessly to help support our front-line staff in ensuring they have the PPE they need and know how to use it correctly and making sure the health care system has protocols in place to help the frontline staff stay safe as they battle the pandemic.
Beth Sum is an emergency department nurse at UofL Health and a nurse educator at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital. She has been instrumental at caring for and developing nursing protocols around COVID-19 care in the emergency department.
Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor has been with UofL Health for over 16 years. She has been working with COVID-19 patients at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital since March 17, and said she lost her 27th COVID-19 patient Monday morning.
“I did this for them, for all of my patients,” said. Dr. Briones-Pryor. “I was honored to be one of the first five to receive this vaccine.”
Dr. Muhamed Saad is the director of critical care at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital. Throughout the pandemic, he has taken care of all COVID-19 ICU patients throughout the UofL Health system.
The initial shipment of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Kentucky on December 13, 2020.