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Ruby Valley Medical Center Receives Moderna Coronavirus Vaccine for Healthcare Workers

On Wednesday, December 23rd, the Ruby Valley Medical Center received 100 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. During the last week of December and the first week of January, the initial dose of the vaccine will be administered to Ruby Valley Medical Center (RVMC) employees who choose to receive it. The vaccine is being distributed under a plan developed by the RVMC Vaccine Implementation Team which includes the healthcare providers and members of the administration, nursing and pharmacy departments. The Team’s objectives include mitigating the impact of possible side-effects, reducing waste and encouraging employee vaccination rates. It is not known when sufficient quantities of the coronavirus vaccine will be available to vaccinate other essential workers or the Ruby Valley community but RVMC’s Vaccination Implementation Team (VIT) has been formulating procedures to facilitate an effective community vaccination plan.

Long before RVMC’s administration received the December 21st notification that a vaccine would arrive within the next two days, the VIT had been working on an employee vaccine administration plan which integrated staff schedule planning, doses per vial, potential side-effects and timing for the second dose of the vaccine. Based on these and other factors, the VIT scheduled vaccinations for December 29th, December 31st and January 7th. Employees will sign up for a preferred day and vaccinations will be organized by groups of ten to reduce waste. Each vial of the Moderna vaccine contains ten doses.

“Side-effects are not unusual with vaccines because they are a sign that the body is gearing up for a fight. This is what we want the vaccine to do in order to protect the body from the live virus,” said Dr. Roman Hendrickson, RVMC’s Medical Director. “We’ve seen the frequency of side-effects declining significantly but they are more prevalent with the second dose of the vaccine.” Common side-effects from the Moderna vaccine include pain and swelling at the shot location on the patient’s arm and chills, fever, tiredness or headache. Typically, the side-effects last one day but can be severe enough that patients stay home from work. A second dose of the Moderna vaccine is required 28-30 days after the initial vaccination. There have been instances of allergic reactions to the vaccine. Patients are required to stay in the vaccination area for 15 minutes following their inoculation so they can be quickly treated in the event of a reaction.

Primary responsibility for coordinating the vaccine implementation plan has been directed to Donna Stump, BSN, RN and Kayla Sandru, BSN, RN. Stump and Sandru have also been responsible for the successful management of the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program. “Who better to manage the implementation of the coronavirus vaccine than the professionals in our own nursing staff,” Dybdal said. Stump and Sandru have also received support from Pat Toalson, RPh, Director of Pharmacy at RVMC.

“We’re grateful to have received enough vaccine for everyone on our staff who wants to be vaccinated at this time,” Hendrickson said. Currently, the RVMC administration has received no communications as to when sufficient quantities of the vaccine will be available for members of the community. The VIT will need to integrate their current procedures with any public health directives that accompany a community vaccine shipment. There is no waitlist for the vaccine at RVMC. As soon as news is available regarding community vaccination availability and inoculation priorities, the information will be posted on RVMC’s Facebook page and website.


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