coronavirus vaccine

Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London Prepares for COVID Vaccine

Healthcare workers at L&M could start to be vaccinated as early as next week.

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Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, based in New London, is preparing to receive hundreds of doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine by early next week.

If the Pfizer vaccine is given the green light, about 31,000 doses are expected to arrive in Connecticut by Monday.

Healthcare workers are among the first group to receive the vaccine in the state.

“The hospitals will allocate according to need, probably focusing on the highest risk employees first, those most likely to be dealing with folks with COVID, making sure that those nurses and docs can stay in the game," Governor Ned Lamont said during a COVID-19 news briefing Thursday.

Yale New Haven Health is expected to receive about 2,000 doses of the vaccine for the entire system in the first week. New London based hospital, L&M, is expected to get a few hundred of those doses.

"Right now, we are looking at Dec. 15 as the day that we are actually going to administer our first vaccine," said Dr. Oliver Mayorga, chief medical officer at L&M. "It is exciting, but there is a lot more work to be done in the meantime to make sure we operationalize this appropriately and actually triage the folks who need it the most."

The hospital is hoping to have all of its healthcare workers vaccinated in the next two months. They will prioritize people who work with COVID patients.

“A lot of it is trying to sort out how many vaccines we are going to get, but also because of the side-effect profile of the vaccine, to make sure we are cascading the number of people receiving it at one time, so we don’t have folks out. Because we need to take care of our patients too," said Mayorga.

Bishal Pradhanang is a respiratory therapist at L&M. He has been working with COVID patients since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Physically and emotionally tiring," Pradhanang said.

He said that he is eager to get the vaccine as soon as he can. He hopes to serve as a role model for the general public.

"Definitely when they start, I am the first one to take this vaccine," said Pradhanang.

While the hospital acknowledges that this is hopeful news, they say it is important to be realistic. There are 27 COVID patients being treated in the hospital right now. They are asking people to remain vigilant.

“This is something that is going to be with us for a while and to actually get to a point where we can get to herd immunity for the nation, it is many many months from now," said Mayorga. "So, I think we will be living with our masks for a while and social distancing.”

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