~ Press release issued by Valley Health
WINCHESTER, Dec. 15 — Valley Health System is receiving an initial shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, December 15, and will immediately begin vaccinating front-line healthcare workers who interact directly with patients with COVID-19.
“Our teams have been planning and preparing for this moment for months,” said Iyad Sabbagh, MD, Valley Health Chief Medical Officer. “Since March, our caregivers have demonstrated incredible resilience in battling COVID-19 in the communities we serve. This is an exciting day and we are thrilled to be rolling this out to our team members who are most at-risk so they may safely care for other community members while we await community-wide vaccinations.”
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after a review for safety and effectiveness by an FDA Advisory Committee made up of an independent panel of experts.
With facilities and providers in Virginia and West Virginia, Valley Health is following guidance from health authorities in both states, which gives priority to vaccinating front-line caregivers most at-risk of contracting COVID-19. The health system expects to receive nearly 3,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in this initial shipment.
“It’s like Christmas Eve a week early,” added Jeffrey Feit, MD, Valley Health Vice President of Population Health. “The anticipation of having vaccine to share with our frontline workers, who have been putting themselves at risk to care for the community, is a priceless gift.”
“Having a safe and reliable vaccine that has shown to reduce the chances of getting COVID-19 by 90-95 percent is remarkable,” Feit continued. “But until a majority of the community is vaccinated, we have to all remain vigilant. Please, especially as we approach the holidays, wear your mask, watch your distance, keep your gatherings small, and wash your hands.”