St. Luke’s Vaccinates 2K Health Care Workers Over Weekend

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Credit: St. Luke's University Health Network

Two employees at St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Campus in Allentown demonstrate the strength and determination that has gotten them and thousands of other front line health care workers through the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of St. Luke’s University Health Network employees were vaccinated against the disease over the weekend as part of an initial mass vaccination effort. That effort will continue through the holidays, bolstered by the FDA’s emergency approval of the Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus.

With 5,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses safely tucked away at -70 degrees Farenheit, St. Luke’s University Health Network worked with urgency and diligence to vaccinate an estimated 2,000 health care workers through the weekend while preparing for an even larger shipment of vaccines this week.

The FDA’s emergency approval of the Moderna vaccine Saturday has cleared the way for the 12-system health network to receive more doses for it’s 16,000-plus health care workers.

“I received my shot on Thursday,” said St. Luke’s Senior Vice President of Medical & Academic Affairs, Jeffrey Jahre, MD. “It felt no different than any other vaccine, and I strongly encourage everyone who can to receive this vaccine. It will help end this pandemic.”

Vaccine Vaccinate Vaccination St. Luke's COVID

Credit: St. Luke's University Health Network

Jeffrey Jahre, MD, St. Luke’s Vice President of Medical & Academic Affairs and an infectious disease expert, is vaccinated by Rebecca Boyer, RN.

The first St. Luke’s employee to receive the vaccine was nurse Sonia Iparraguirre of Bethlehem, who was given it Thursday.

Employees at three of St. Luke’s hospitals–the Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township, Bethlehem in Fountain Hill and Sacred Heart in Allentown–are receiving their vaccines over the weekend, with nurses administering approximately six shots every 10 minutes. Nursing home employees and EMS personnel were also able to receive the vaccine at St. Luke’s this week.

St. Luke’s may be the largest supplier of the vaccine locally, as state officials credit the hospital network for its organization, logistical planning and efficiency.

“We have been working hand-in-hand with the Department of Health since this pandemic started,” said Colleen Sprissler, RN, MSN, Senior Director of Network Operations for St. Luke’s. “They are releasing the vaccine as it becomes available and everything has been running very smoothly.”

Employee vaccination clinics will open at St. Luke’s additional eight campuses in the coming days; a sign that community access to the vaccine may not be that far away.

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

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