COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin at St. Luke’s Hospital

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Vaccine St. Luke's COVID

Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Senior Vice President for Medical and Academic Affairs and an infectious disease expert, holds a #StLukesProud sign on the first day of COVID-19 vaccine administration to the network’s employees.

St. Luke’s nurse Sonia Iparraguirre, RN, became the first individual to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine at St. Luke’s University Health Network Thursday afternoon.

“I am so happy to be part of this momentous step to end the pandemic,” said Iparraguirre, of Bethlehem. “I want people in our community to know that the vaccine is safe, and that if they want it, they should get it. It protects their health and the health of our community.”

Earlier this year, as St. Luke’s University Health Network began preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic, its dedicated health care workers stepped to the forefront.

Iparraguirre, who works in Priscilla Payne Hurd Pavilion 8, was literally on the front line as she admitted the first COVID-19 patient at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem.

COVID-19 Vaccine St. Luke's First Vaccination

Credit: St. Luke's University Health Network

Sonia Iparraguirre, RN, was the first individual to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Luke’s University Health Network Thursday afternoon. Iparraguirre works at St. Luke’s Hospital’s Priscilla Payne Hurd Pavilion 8 in Fountain Hill.

Iparraguirre was recently honored for her contributions to St. Luke’s pandemic mobilization and her commitment to the health of the community by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Lehigh Valley during its annual gala. Streamed from SteelStacks in Bethlehem on Oct. 8, the gala’s theme was “The Heroes Among Us.”

“Sonia embraced this unknown challenge with true grace and professionalism,” said Rebecca Boyer, BSN, RN, Patient Care Manager, Priscilla Payne Hurd Pavilion 8. “She not only played a vital role in providing quality patient care, she went above and beyond in providing the intangibles that played such a crucial and meaningful role during this uncertain time.”

These intangibles, Boyer explained, included comforting patients in isolation, spending time listening to patients crying in fear of the effects of COVID-19 and facilitating communication with these patients’ family members.

“Sonia is an outstanding example of St. Luke’s commitment to caring for COVID-19 patients and all those we serve in our community,” said Janice Concilio, St. Luke’s COVID-19 Incident Commander.

Front-line health care workers are one of the first groups nationwide to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which began mass distribution earlier this week.

More information about St. Luke’s COVID-19 vaccine program may be found on the SLUHN website.

For more photos of this momentous occasion, please see below. All photos are courtesy of St. Luke’s University Health Network.

Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.

St. Luke’s nurse Sonia Iparraguirre displays her index finger to indicate that she was first among the St. Luke’s University Health Network’s thousands of employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine only became available this week after receiving emergency approval by the FDA. Front-line health care workers are among the first people to receive it.

St. Luke’s University Health Network employees display records of their vaccination against COVID-19 outside the hospital in Bethlehem Thursday.

Vaccine First Vaccination St. Luke's

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