Forty University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) frontline healthcare workers received COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines on Wednesday as the organization begins the process of vaccinating team members. UM UCH received its first shipment of vaccine and is in the process of allocating doses across both UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and UM Harford Memorial Hospital, with additional vaccine delivery expected later this week or next week.
“For many months, we have been looking forward to the day when vaccines would be available to protect our healthcare workers and very soon for the community at large,” said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System. “As we begin vaccinations, and finally begin the process of ending this pandemic, I’m thankful to our UMMS and UM School of Medicine colleagues who have been working tirelessly to care for our community and lead in the development of innovative treatments and vaccines.”
Two of the first UM UCH team members to receive the vaccine were Faheem Younus, MD, infectious disease specialist, and John Haacke, RN,critical care nurse at UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.
Dr. Younus, vice president of quality/chief quality officer at UM UCH, has played an instrumental educational and leadership role—both locally and for the System—in the fight against COVID-19. “I received this vaccine because I want to lead by example,” Dr. Younus said. “This is my place, and these are my people. As an infectious disease physician, I have educated myself about the vaccine, and I am convinced it is safe and efficacious. I trust the science, and I hope more people will do the same so we can crush this pandemic.”
Haacke, who works in the UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center COVID Care Stabilization Unit, said, “I got the vaccine because it’s the most obvious step toward ending this pandemic. It provides me safety as well. Part of the job that I enjoy is caring for people, but COVID has been tough to watch and tough to deal with.”
“We are excited to start the COVID vaccination efforts,” said Lyle Sheldon, president and CEO of UM Upper Chesapeake Health. “Our team members have worked long and hard caring for our community during the pandemic. We are proud of the great efforts by the University of Maryland Medical System for distributing the vaccine so quickly to all the UMMS community hospitals. Vaccinating our front line is the first step in protecting our team members and the patients in their care.”
The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday and distributed it to its System hospitals. The vaccination plan starts with frontline healthcare workers, based on the Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine – developed by the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) – as well as ACIP’s Ethical Principles for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine. These guidelines will ensure the vaccine is allocated ethically across our populations of healthcare professionals, students, faculty and other essential workers, while still in limited supply. UMMS will continue to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers across the organization as vaccine supply becomes available.
About University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health includes the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center on its Bel Air campus. Most recently, it opened The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center in Bel Air offering services for behavioral health. The Senator Bob Hooper House in Forest Hill is an assisted living facility that specializes in hospice. University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital has been operating in the community for over a century and is located in Havre de Grace. The leading health care system and largest private employer in Harford County, UM Upper Chesapeake Health offers a broad range of health care services, specialty care, technology and facilities to the residents of northeastern Maryland. Visit www.umuch.org for more information.