UofL Health first in Kentucky to bring hope through a COVID-19 vaccine

UofL Health welcomed Governor Andy Beshear to mark a historic moment in the fight against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The first vaccines shipped to Kentucky were administered Monday at UofL Hospital, which received 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“Today is a historic day in the commonwealth – we are at the beginning of the end of our war with COVID-19,” said Gov. Beshear, who was at UofL Hospital as UPS delivered the vaccines. “The Pfizer vaccine, which we believe to be 95% effective, is the defense we have needed to end this pandemic, and with the highly effective Moderna vaccine likely on its way to approval soon, we are all filled with hope for the first time in a very long time. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. To our front-line workers: we are forever grateful for your bravery, talents and compassion.”

The governor watched as five UofL Health doctors and nurses, who have been working on the front lines to help Kentuckians during the once-in-100-years pandemic, received their vaccinations in public and before the media. Sarah Bishop, MSN, APRN, CCNS, CIC, director of infection prevention at UofL Hospital, administered the vaccinations to all five.

Jason Smith, M.D., a front-line emergency and trauma surgeon and UofL Health chief medical officer was the first to receive the vaccine. “The arrival of this vaccine demonstrates the best of medicine and our commonwealth’s collaborative spirit,” said Dr. Smith. “For the first time, we now have a tool to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in a significant way. I appreciate the leadership of Gov. Beshear and UPS working to expedite getting this vaccine to our front-line health care workers. And I am humbled by the ongoing individual sacrifices of so many Kentuckians who continue to help through social distancing and masking until the vaccine is more widely available to the general population.”

Two UofL Health nurses and two doctors were the next in line.

LaShawn Scott, MSN/Ed, RN, CCRN-K, has worked for UofL Health for more than 20 years. She is an infection prevention nurse. Scott has worked tirelessly to help support our front-line staff in ensuring they have the personal protective equipment they need and know how to use it correctly. She also ensures UofL Health has protocols in place to help front-line staff stay safe as they continue to battle the pandemic.

Beth Sum, BSN is an emergency department nurse at UofL Health and is a nurse educator at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital. She has been instrumental at caring for and developing nursing protocols around COVID-19 care in the emergency department.

Valerie Briones-Pryor, M.D., has been with UofL Health for more than 16 years. She grew up in Louisville and always wanted to work in her hometown. Dr. Briones-Pryor has been working with COVID-19 patients at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital since March 17, and said she lost her 27th COVID-19 patient Monday morning. “I did this for them, for all of my patients,” said. Dr. Briones-Pryor. “I was honored to be one of the first five to receive this vaccine.”

Mohamed Saad, M.D., is the director of critical care at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital. Throughout the pandemic, he has taken care of all COVID-19 intensive care unit patients throughout the UofL Health system.

The initial shipment of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Kentucky on Sunday, December 13, 2020.

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UofL Health

UofL Health is a fully integrated regional academic health system with eight hospitals, four medical centers, Brown Cancer Center, Eye Institute, nearly 200 physician practice locations, and more than 1,000 providers in Louisville and the surrounding counties, including southern Indiana. Additional access to UofL Health is provided through a partnership with Carroll County Memorial Hospital. With more than 13,000 team members – physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other highly-skilled health care professionals, UofL Health is focused on one mission: to transform the health of communities we serve through compassionate, innovative, patient-centered care.

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