First St. Charles caregivers receive Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine dose

BEND, Ore. – At 11 a.m. Monday, the first group of six St. Charles caregivers made their way into the conference area at the Bend hospital to receive what many are calling a “shot of hope” in the arm.

“It is no small feat to set up a precision vaccination program so quickly. It really has been a great team effort,” said Dr. Fran McCabe, an emergency room physician at St. Charles Bend, who was part of the first group to be vaccinated in Central Oregon. “I feel very grateful to be included in the first group of hospital staff to receive this vaccine. While it’s very exciting, I realize that it is just a first step in a long journey and we will all need to remain vigilant.”

Safely spaced in the area at the same time as McCabe, Jonathan Calles, a certified nursing assistant, DJ Pierce, a respiratory therapist, Becky LaCoss, an environmental services caregiver, Cathy Davila, a phlebotomist in the emergency department, and Julie Bostrom, a registered nurse in the emergency department, proudly rolled up their sleeves and received their vaccinations. All of these caregivers have been caring for and supporting COVID-19 patients for many months.

The clinic Monday was the first of many. St. Charles plans to administer its first wave of 975 doses today through Wednesday of this week. The health system expects to receive a second shipment of 975 doses later this week that will be administered Monday through Wednesday of next week.

“As you can imagine, the logistics behind scheduling caregivers from a variety of departments at different times while also ensuring we have a trained army of vaccinators and that the pharmacy team is prepared to thaw and dilute the doses – all while keeping everyone involved safe – has been a monumental task over the past few weeks,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, chief physician executive for St. Charles. “We are so grateful to the hundreds of caregivers who have stepped up to make this day possible. And we are thrilled that many of our caregivers will soon have much greater protection against this terrible virus.”

St. Charles is working closely with the Oregon Health Authority and local public health departments on the next steps in the vaccine roll-out plan to community health providers, EMS agencies and others on the frontlines of this fight.

About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,500 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.



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