Frontline workers celebrate, share optimism for eventual return to normalcy
Bellin Health frontline healthcare workers celebrated a major pandemic milestone today (Friday, Dec. 18), receiving the health system’s first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay.
The mood was celebratory even as vaccine recipients reflected on the need to stay the course in protecting against the spread of the virus.
“In many ways, today feels like the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” said Bellin Health Respiratory Therapist Lucy Bellerud, who was among the first vaccinated. “At the same time, we know there’s a long road ahead as this rollout continues, and we know masking, social distancing, hand hygiene and avoiding group gatherings remain as important as ever.”
Bellin Health President & CEO Chris Woleske echoed the excitement over the first vaccines and praised the frontline healthcare workers receiving them.
“Over the last 10 months, our frontline providers, nurses, respiratory therapists and other team members have demonstrated incredible fortitude and flexibility in the ongoing battle against COVID-19,” Woleske said. “I can’t say enough about their professionalism and heart, and it is an absolute joy to see them receive these vaccinations today.”
Frontline healthcare workers have been prioritized to receive the vaccine due to their close contact with COVID-19 patients and the critical role they play in keeping their patients, families and communities healthy, said Bellin Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Michael Landrum. They can also help set an example for the public for when the vaccine becomes more widely available.
“This vaccine is remarkable in its efficacy and safety, and part of our job as healthcare professionals is to share the facts and good news with the public,” Landrum said. “Vaccination is critical to ending this pandemic and eventually returning us to life as normal, and it is incredibly important that we get the word out.”
Bellin expected to vaccinate up to 20 team members into the evening today, and vaccinations will continue as quickly as supply and logistics allow. Bellin Hospital in Green Bay is the health system’s current sole vaccination site, and officials expect more sites to be added in the near future.