Press Releases

UC Health Continues to Administer First COVID-19 Vaccinations in Ohio

CINCINNATI - West Chester Hospital frontline healthcare workers received doses of Pfizer vaccine today.

UC Health, Greater Cincinnati’s academic healthcare system, administered a second round of COVID-19 vaccines today at UC Medical Center, West Chester Hospital and Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care, continuing the health system’s role in a historic chapter of the global pandemic that will protect the community from the ongoing impact of the deadly virus.

Frontline healthcare workers at West Chester Hospital who interact directly with COVID-19 patients were inoculated against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the respiratory illness that has caused the deaths of nearly 300,000 people across the United States.

Members of the intensive care unit (ICU) and emergency department (ED) teams at West Chester Hospital received the first of two doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and approved for emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“This is an historic moment for our community, our region and the nation,” said Richard P. Lofgren, MD, president & CEO of UC Health. “From the beginning, UC and UC Health have participated in finding a cure as a clinical trial site, and our healthcare workers within our hospitals have tirelessly served on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 for more than nine months. We are proud to have been selected as one of the very first healthcare systems to receive the vaccine.

“Our role as one of the very first recipient sites for the vaccine underscores the unique and critically important role that UC Health plays in our region and treating those who have been most significantly impacted by the virus,” Lofgren said. “This vaccine will help us to ensure that the members of our healthcare team who are uniquely qualified in the region to address critically ill patients and medical challenges presented by the virus, remain healthy so that they may continue to serve the broader community and region.”

The first person vaccinated at West Chester Hospital today was Kim Murphy, RN, a registered nurse who works in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

“Working in the ICU, I see a lot of death and multiple complications from COVID-19. Taking the vaccination is the best route I can take as a person,” Murphy said. “We need to just stand up and do what we need to do to make our community better. As an RN, I want to model for the community as this is what we should do, and people can see us taking the vaccine, and that we are going to be okay – and so will they.”

Inoculation of more UC Health frontline healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, technicians and other vitally important support service staff will continue through Thursday. UC Health expects to receive additional doses of vaccine as soon as next week.

The Pfizer vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to stimulate an immune response against COVID-19.

Unlike conventional vaccines, which often use a small amount of live virus or antigen to stimulate an immune response, mRNA vaccines communicate with the body’s cells in a way that directs the cell to produce proteins. The protein that is made is similar to one that is normally made by the virus during an infection. This allows the body’s immune system to be stimulated and respond in a way that is protective, without being exposed to the actual virus.

UC Health was one of the very first vaccine distribution sites identified by the Ohio Department of Health, and the only location in southwest Ohio. Over the coming weeks and months, UC Health expects to receive additional shipments of the vaccine to address larger numbers of its frontline healthcare workers.