Tuesday: First COVID vaccines given in Jefferson County

Tuesday: First COVID vaccines given in Jefferson County

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - When was the last time you heard people cheer for getting a shot?

It happened Tuesday at the North Country Family Health Center in Watertown, as some of the first COVID vaccine in Jefferson County left the syringe and entered the arms of anxious healthcare workers.

Kit Veley, a family nurse practitioner, was first in line.

“We’re very lucky, that we have two vaccines going around the country right now. So, this is good news,” she said.

The center received 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine. All 134 staff members will get it before it’s given to patients. 40 workers were vaccinated Tuesday. The center’s Chief Medical Officer says that the vaccine is more than 90% effective, which she pointed out is better than the flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccine, it really depends year-to-year, it can be as low as 20 percent and as high as 60 percent, but certainly have not seen over 90 percent vaccine efficacy,” said Dr. Jana Shaw.

Likewise, at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, health care workers were vaccinated for COVID-19 Tuesday.

The first round of Pfizer vaccinations began at 6 am Tuesday, just two days after they were transported from Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh.

There were 335 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and almost all of them were to be be administered Tuesday.

Twelve hundred doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived at Samaritan Tuesday morning and they’ll be administered starting Wednesday.

Dr. Joseph Wetterhahn was one of the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine. He says this is just the first step toward eradicating the virus.

“I’m excited that we’ve had a very well-organized rollout for health care providers,” he said. “This is the first step, this is what we’ve been waiting for since those dark days back in the spring, to have an effective vaccine, you know with a very low side-effect rate.”

Another 600 vaccinations will be administered to health care workers at Samaritan over the next two days.

In Ogdensburg, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center received 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine. 300 of them will be used for staff members at the hospital - the shots will be administered starting Wednesday.

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