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Frontline healthcare workers at UVA Health to receive Pfizer vaccine next week

UVA Health
UVA Health(WVIR)
Updated: Dec. 8, 2020 at 7:54 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - We are just one week out from the distribution of the very first COVID-19 vaccines in Charlottesville. University of Virginia Health employees will be some of the first to receive it.

The health system will be distributing the Pfizer vaccine to its high-risk, frontline healthcare workers on its medical campus starting as early as next Tuesday, December 15. Many have already signed up for their slot to get it.

“We do think the majority of the people on this initial list will end up receiving the vaccination,” UVA Health Spokesperson Eric Swensen said. He claims many of these candidates work directly with COVID-19 patients.

“These are folks who have seen first hand the impact of the disease,” he said. “We did reach out to our members of our team here at UVA Health who we’ve deemed to be in the highest risk category for contracting COVID.”

The vaccine is optional, but UVA Health is strongly encouraging all of their employees to get it.

“We do think the majority of these folks who received this initial invitation will get the vaccine,” Swensen said.

If some choose to opt out during this first wave, there will be other chances for them to receive the vaccine. “For people who choose for one reason or another not to get it now, they will have other opportunities we believe down the road,” Swensen said.

Swensen says plans are in the works to get more high-risk people outside of UVA’s health system vaccinated. “This is just the beginning of the process,” he said. “There are a lot of people in the community who would love to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Swensen says many experts across the health system worked tirelessly to pull this off in a short span of time.

“Hopefully we’re getting very close to a point where we in in connection with a lot of community partners, both locally and across the state, can begin to vaccinate as many people as possible in the coming weeks and coming months,” he said.

The Pfizer vaccine does require two doses 21 days apart. This is just first round, folks will have to come back for a second dose 21 days after their initial vaccine.

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