“I am so grateful to the teams from across the health system that have spent weeks preparing for the arrival of the vaccine. We were ready to begin vaccination the same day our initial shipment arrived,” Dr. K. Craig Kent, UVA’s executive vice president for health affairs, said. “We have 13,000 employees at the health system and look forward to the opportunity to vaccinate all of our frontline workers and thus create a safe environment for our patients.”
As they begin receiving the vaccine, UVA Health providers are also working to educate and reassure the public about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine in advance of its wider rollout in the coming weeks and months. Both Bell and Dr. Ebony Jade Hilton plan to discuss their experiences receiving the vaccine on social media in the days and weeks ahead.
“I want you to see me in real time as I undergo this process and as my body adapts to having this medicine injected into my arm,” said Hilton, an anesthesiologist and critical-care medicine specialist who also was one of the first UVA Health staff members vaccinated Tuesday. “I’m hoping that in that transparency, you will be able to make a better decision for you and yours about receiving the vaccine.”
UVA Health expects to receive additional doses within the next month, enabling additional groups of UVA Health team members to be offered the vaccine. Ultimately, COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered to the entire UVA Health team.