Front line workers at Wexner Medical Center receive first coronavirus vaccines


A medical center employee carries coronavirus vaccines across the skyway Dec. 14. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

The first Ohioans were vaccinated for COVID-19 Monday at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, as 30 frontline hospital workers received their first of two doses.

Gov. Mike DeWine joined University President Kristina M. Johnson to welcome the first shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to the Wexner Medical Center.

According to the medical center, 975 front line workers will be vaccinated with the first shipment of the vaccine. This includes workers across the Wexner Medical Center campuses, Dr. Nicholas Kman, professor of emergency medicine and emergency physician at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State, said.

Kman said the full course of the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer — which received FDA approval Friday — requires two doses, with the second being administered 17-21 days after the first. The doses from the first shipment are being administered in staggered time slots because some vaccine trial participants reported feeling a fever and chills after the second dose.

“If we have people staggered out, then we can make sure that our workforce isn’t impacted in one way over another,” Kman said.

Individuals are spaced out waiting to receive their COVID-19 vaccination

Thirty frontline healthcare workers received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Wexner Medical Center. Credit: Max Garrison | Assistant Campus Editor

Dr. Meryl Sudhakar, an emergency medicine resident, said receiving the vaccine is the next step in protecting her patients, family and community.

She said she scheduled her follow-up appointment in January after a 10-hour shift. 

Dr. Stella Ogake, an ICU doctor at the Wexner Medical Center, said she has been at the frontlines of the pandemic since the beginning and is excited to get the vaccine. 

“Just getting it to me is very surreal,”  Ogake said. “Knowing that in this fight against COVID, we’re starting to get to the end.”

She said she enjoys working in the intensive care unit, but COVID-19 has made the job overwhelming at times and she worries about taking the virus home to her family.

Robert Weber, director of pharmacy services, administered Dr. Ogake and Dr. Sudhakar’s vaccines, among other employees. 

“We can help people by getting them vaccinated and really stem this awful virus. So it was a privilege for me to be here today,” Weber said.

Kman said time slots for vaccination are 30 minutes long to account for observation.

12:31 p.m.: This story was updated to include Ogake’s, Weber’s and Sudhakar’s statements and additional photos. 

Max Garrison contributed reporting. 


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