BayCare Launches Vaccination Clinics for Frontline Staff
NOTE: As of May 1, 2021, BayCare has paused all vaccine scheduling due to significant vaccine availability from public and private providers across West Central Florida. BayCare encourages those still seeking a vaccine to visit BayCare.org/coronavirus/vaccines to find a list of providers in the region.
TAMPA, Fla. (December 17, 2020) – BayCare, the largest health system in West Central Florida, today began vaccinating its frontline team members and providers considered most at-risk for exposure to COVID-19.
“BayCare has been working for months on plans to vaccinate team members and providers as quickly as we can,” said Kyle Barr, senior vice president and chief team resources for BayCare Health System. “We have leveraged resources across the system to vaccinate our staff according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, including clinical and nonclinical staff serving and caring for COVID-positive patients.”
First in line this morning was Deanna Myers, RN, a nurse in the Steinbrenner Pediatric Emergency Center at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. A mother of four including one child with chronic respiratory illness, Myers worked through the night before stopping by the one-day vaccination clinic.
“I think it is very important to get this vaccine,” said Myers who has worked at the hospital for 17 years. “I have four children, including one who is chronically ill. By doing this, I can protect him along with myself and my family. I also want to help other people realize that it’s important to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and come out of this pandemic.”
Doses distributed by BayCare were part of the first allocation of vaccines delivered to Tampa General Hospital earlier this week. St. Joseph’s Hospital buzzed with activity well before dawn as pharmacists, nurses and administrators set up an efficient clinic expected to deliver about 480 vaccines by the end of the day. During phase one of distribution, one-day vaccination clinics will move to various locations throughout the health care system.
BayCare anticipates receiving more vaccine supply in the next week or two and will expand to additional phases as allocation allows. Late yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced BayCare hospitals in its four-county service area will be among the Florida hospitals to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination once it receives its Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Those locations include St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Mease Dunedin Hospital, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz, St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview, South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City, Bartow Regional Medical Center and Winter Haven Hospital.
Newly developed vaccines show promise as new tools in the fight against the pandemic. Vaccines help a body produce antibodies that can fight off a specific disease and has two benefits: It helps prevent people from getting infected and, therefore, it can also help stop the spread of the disease. Health care experts also believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help people from getting seriously ill even if they get infected with COVID-19.
“While we wish we could vaccinate everyone who wants this immediately, that just isn’t possible right now due to allotment restrictions,” said Nishant Anand, MD, FACEP, executive vice president and chief medical officer for BayCare.
“We’re excited to have reached this milestone where vaccines are becoming available, but we still need to stay the course to help prevent further spread,” Anand added. “Especially in the midst of the holidays, we encourage everyone to remain vigilant around mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing. And please stay home if you aren’t feeling well. That may be the best gift you can give to others this year.”