Bright and early Dec. 28, the first vaccination for COVID-19 was administered at the Jones Regional Medical Center.

The first staff member to get vaccinated was Shannon Frink, registered nurse and infection prevention specialist, who was excited about the opportunity.

“I think this is an exciting time to be able to offer this vaccine to our staff, and I look forward to getting back to a more normal life sooner rather than later,” Frink said.

During the first phase of vaccine rollout, the vaccine is limited to medical personnel that is unable to work from home. Vaccination is not required for the rest of Frink’s colleagues but is being recommended by the medical team and the rest of the UnityPoint system.

“Staff are required to complete a ‘net learning’ training and can accept or decline the vaccine at that time. If they accept the vaccine, we will be administering the first dose for the next two weeks,” Frink said.

Though it’s not required, Frink hopes that the rest of her coworkers will agree to vaccinated as well as the general public, once it becomes more widely available. While her profession has a certain amount to do with it, getting vaccinated is also important to her personally.

“I am a big advocate for anyone who can get the vaccine, should. I did it for the patients we help and the community that I live in and serve but also for my family,” she said. “I have a sister who has asthma and if she were to get COVID, who knows what the outcome would be. I also have a grandma who is (in her 80s) that if she were to get it, it could end badly. Anything that I can do to help protect them, I will.”

The administering of the vaccine to Frink at the Jones Regional Medical Center came six days after the hospital received their first shipment of the Moderna vaccine. According to Frink, the hospital received approximately 300 doses. While the first shipment is reserved for those in the medical field, conversations and planning are already ongoing on how the rollout of the vaccine will be handled when it becomes more widely available later in 2020.

“We are working closely with the Jones County Department of Public Health to help determine the role for all parties in vaccinating Jones County. This will truly be a team effort,” Jones Regional Medical Center CEO Eric Briesemeister said.

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