“A dose of hope:” Pikeville Medical Center health care workers armored with another layer of protection

COVID-19 vaccines arrive
Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 10:00 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) - Applauds from frontline health care workers at Pikeville Medical Center filled the room Tuesday as some of the first vaccinations were administered.

Pikeville Medical Center Director of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fadi Al Akhrass, was the first to receive the vaccine, followed by Dr. John Fleming. Two registered nurses, Dana, and Leanne, and a respiratory therapist named Tiffany also received vaccinations.

Many health care workers said these vaccines are helping our country take a step in the right direction in changing the course of the pandemic.

“It’s a dose of hope and freedom,” said Fleming, an ER physician.

The word hope was heard many times, along with joy. Kansas Justice, chief operating officer, watched the opening of the vaccines when they arrived, saying “Christmas came early this year.”

Fleming admits he was anxious to take the vaccine, but it shows the community just how much he cares.

“It’s an honor to show my community and family how much I care. To show my staff, I believe in this,” he said. “I would encourage anyone eligible to get the vaccine to do so and take it early. Don’t wait for everybody else to see how they do, save your community.”

Al Akhrass agreed, saying “we have a duty to protect each other.”

“This is our way to cross the finish line. I don’t think without the vaccine, we are able to do that,” he said.

Proud to roll up his sleeve and show his friends and co-workers that moving toward a post COVID world requires collaboration, Al Akhrass wore his vaccination sticker with pride.

“When we talk about voting, we ask some societal and civic duty to do that. This is the same thing. If you feel like you can help through that process and move your community to the finish line, then why not?” Al Akhrass said.

PMC officials have set up an area to vaccinate their first-tier employees who are interested as early as 5 a.m. Wednesday.

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