The COVID-19 vaccine has reached Tooele County.
The first COVID-19 vaccinations given in Tooele County were administered to Mountain West Medical Center staff on Monday morning. The Tooele County Health Department followed vaccinations for their healthcare workers Tuesday morning.
The second dose of the vaccine will be given 28 days after the first dose was received.
A total of 85 employees at the hospital were given Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine on Monday, which has proven to be 94% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Becky Trigg, marketing director and public information officer for Mountain West Medical Center, said that the hospital has 450 staff members and they plan to vaccinate all members of staff, whether paid or volunteers, who want the vaccination, but it will take all week.
‘We intend to vaccinate all of our employees willing to get the vaccine by the end of day on New Year’s Day, so by the end of the week,” Trigg stated. “We are excited to vaccinate all of our staff who want it. “
The first to receive the vaccine was the hospital‘s chief of staff, Dr. Megan Shutts-Karjola, who is an OBGYN at the hospital.
“She (Shutts-Karjola) stayed around for 30 minutes to be observed for any reactions, as did anyone after her who was vaccinated,” said Trigg.
“My only only side effect following the vaccine so far is mild muscle soreness, no different from any other immunization,” said Shutts-Karjola.
After Shutts-Karjola, other members of staff who have been in direct contact with patients who have COVID-19 were vaccinated.
“There were no reactions among the 85 vaccinated yesterday and the process went smoothly,” Trigg said.
Mountain West Medical Center will hold another week-long clinic in 28 days to administer the second dose.
Trigg was among those who received the vaccine Monday.
“The shot itself was hardly felt,” she said. “I stayed the 30 minutes for observation and then went home. The only thing I have felt is a sore arm at the injection site but that is common with the flu vaccine, as well. Otherwise, I felt great.”
“I think the speed with which the vaccine was developed and brought to the market was amazing and something that the medical community has been waiting for and looking forward to,” said Shutts-Karjola. “Most physicians I know are excited to receive the vaccine.”
The vaccines being administered has been a relief to staff at the hospital.
“The vaccine for us means that the employees and medical staff can breathe easier,” said Shutts-Karjola. “We have found that COVID is unpredictable and if we can keep more healthcare workers healthy and available to care for patients, that will diminish the burden on overworked providers and alleviate fears surrounding the possibility of exposing our family members to COVID. If we can decrease transmission, we will alleviate some of the burden on ICU and inpatient units, freeing up beds for other illnesses. And this will eventually bring back some sense of normalcy to the community.”
Shutts-Karjola wants to see the world and the community return to normal.
“The social isolation being experienced by the entire nation has been emotionally exhausting and we have seen it take a significant mental health toll on the entire community,” she said. “We need to be able to return to “normal.”