ROME, N.Y. -- Rome Memorial Hospital has just received 2200 COVID-19 vaccinations. The number of people they’re admitting with the virus is increasing at an alarming rate. Emma Ingalls is the hospital's director of infection prevention. She has no problem explaining where this pandemic is going.
"The reality is that the only way this pandemic ends is with 80% herd immunity. That happens in one of 2 ways. Either mass infection or mass vaccination," she said.
The hospital began administering vaccinations to staff that are most at risk. It should be noted that there is no FDA approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The FDA has however authorized the Moderna vaccination to be used on individuals 18 years of age or older. The side effects reported with this vaccine range from flu-like symptoms to severe allergic reaction. Serious and unexpected side effects can also occur. That being said, Emergency Room Medical Director Andrew Bushnell was among the first to receive a shot. A third of the hospital staff has already signed up to receive the vaccination, but Dr. Bushnell says it’s going to take more than that to combat this virus.
"It is the only way out of this crisis. It is safe. It is more effective than anyone dreamed possible, and it will clearly help get this Country well again," he said.
At 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, the New York State Department of Health sent out an email that allows EMS personal to receive a vaccination, so Rome Memorial Hospital issued a Code Green which alerts the staff to prepare for immediate action. First responders need to register through the email they received in order to get a shot. The hospital is not able to take direct appointments.
Paramedic Paul Taylor is the CEO of AMCARE Ambulance. He came for his shot right away and talked about why it's important for first responders to get thiers.
"We have to have that extra protection so we can take care of everybody else, because if we get sick there’s nobody to take care of people. So it is of the utmost importance that we get vaccinated," he said.
Seeing people well again is something Emma Ingalls and the medical staff at Rome Memorial Hospital is anxiously awaiting, she said "I think they’re tired of watching people die….suddenly….with little to no warning sometimes…with their families not at their side. It feels like we’re denying people… you know…dignity."