Baptist Health's Kentucky hospitals vaccinate first staff members for COVID-19

December 18, 2020

Only 11 hospitals in Kentucky were chosen to receive the initial shipments of the vaccine.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, DEC. 18, 2020 - Four of Baptist Health’s Kentucky hospitals began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to frontline staff members this week. Baptist Health Lexington was among the first hospitals in the state to receive shipment of the vaccine and began administering the shots on Monday, Dec. 14. Only 11 hospitals in Kentucky were chosen to receive the initial shipments of the vaccine, which obtained emergency use authorization just days before. Each Baptist Health hospital was allocated 975 doses.

“While this is just a start, we stand ready in all our facilities to vaccinate all of our front line healthcare workers, and then expand to other individuals as guided by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and CDC,” said Gerard Colman, Baptist Health CEO.  “We know the vaccine is vitally important to getting back to normal, and both in our facilities as well as the communities we’re privileged to serve, we stand ready to play a key role in this crucial initiative as more supplies of vaccine become available over the next several months.”

Only a limited number of vaccines will be available initially. “Even within our health system we will be prioritizing our employees at the highest risk given the initial limited supplies,” Colman added. Baptist Health, the state’s largest healthcare system, employs about 11,000 employees at the five hospitals selected to receive the first vaccines, with about 41 percent of staff in clinical roles. System-wide, Baptist Health employs about 22,500 people.

Baptist Health Corbin, Baptist Health Louisville and Baptist Health Madisonville began administering vaccines to selected staff members on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

In Southern Indiana, Baptist Health Floyd – charged by the Indiana State Department of Health with distributing vaccine to front line healthcare workers in three counties (Floyd, Harrison and Washington), began on Friday, Dec. 18 with giving shots to scheduled recipients in a drive-thru clinic.

Here’s a snapshot of each hospital’s first day of vaccinations.

Baptist Health Lexington

A member of the housekeeping staff, an intensivist, a nurse, an emergency room nursing assistant, and an emergency department physician were the first five Baptist Health Lexington employees to receive doses of a vaccine to protect again the COVID-19 virus, given just five hours after the shipment was received.

“This is truly a historical day, a turning point in the pandemic,” said William G. Sisson, president of Baptist Health Lexington. 

Baptist Health Corbin

The hospital president Anthony Powers, chief medical officer David Worthy, MD; chief nursing officer Sherrie Mays, a patient educator, physicians, nurses and members of the housekeeping staff were the first in line for vaccines.

“It’s a real honor to be selected and we look forward to taking care of our front line workers here in the hospital and in the area, and eventually be involved in the process of caring for others,” Dr. Worthy said.

Baptist Health Louisville

“At Baptist Health Louisville, we are grateful for the opportunity to offer this vaccine to our front line employees who are caring for our most vulnerable patients,” said Larry Gray, president of Baptist Health Louisville, as the first five staff members received the vaccine. “They have been there for our community, and now we want to be there for them. We eagerly look forward to the day that the vaccine is more readily available to provide needed protection for all of our families and neighbors.”

The volunteers who received the first vaccinations were pulmonologist and critical care doctor Subin Jain, MD; respiratory therapist Frank Porter; infectious disease physician Anna Hart, MD; critical care nurse Krista Kirby; and COVID unit nurse Rene White.

Baptist Health Madisonville

Duana Camplin, a respiratory therapist, was the first to receive the vaccine on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

“Today, we are humbled, honored and we are excited to be one of 11 hospitals in the state of Kentucky — the first in western Kentucky — to receive the vaccination to fight COVID-19,” said Wayne Lipson, MD, chief medical officer of Baptist Health Madisonville. “We are here to start with our frontline workers, doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists that have been fighting this fight since late February and early March.”

Baptist Health is well prepared to store, distribute and administer the vaccine at all of our hospitals, Colman added.

If emergency use authorization is granted to the Moderna vaccine, thousands of additional doses will be available, and assigned by the ACIP and CDC to be given to a certain classification of high-risk individuals. It will be several months – depending on manufacturing and distribution – for the general public to be vaccinated.