Nicole Rooney, chief nursing officer at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, Rooney disclosed Monday evening that 900 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are anticipated to arrive sometime this week. The hospital is ready to hit the ground running.
She depicted the ins-and-outs of the hospital as “focused and centered” around COVID.
“I’ve been really impressed with our team’s work on ensuring our patients are safely discharged,” Rooney said, adding the team of 175-200 nurses between medical departments varies each day depending on patient census.
WHO GETS IT
Ivinson Hospital has partnered with Albany County Public Health to determine the best way to proceed with distribution.
Vaccine administration will occur through a tiered system where individuals with the most frequent and direct contacts with COVID-19 positive patients receive vaccination first.
Because the hospital is receiving a limited supply of vaccines, “high-risk” patients — defined by the CDC as older adults, individuals with certain underlying medical conditions and pregnant women — will be in the bottom tiers.
“We’ve been focused on following that tiered approach so people that have the most common and most direct contact [have that preventative measure],” Rooney said.
But until vaccination becomes widely available Rooney said the hospital has implemented evidence-based safety precautions for all staff members. For example, mask-wearing and proper education on new equipment is mandatory regardless of whether the individual is working with patients or not.
IVINSON AND COVID-19
Part of Rooney’s job is to ensure the right products, PPE (personal preventative equipment) and medications are in stock as well staying aware of patient census.
She mentioned there have not been any bed shortages but it’s something she is constantly evaluating.
“It’s something we’ve kept an eye on,” she said, adding this keen awareness helps prevent shortages.
Ivinson has had the fortune of mostly full-functioning operation due to the diligence of scheduling and, if necessary, rescheduling elective cases.
Part of this success is due to the level of communication implemented by staff. For example, if an operation requires rescheduling due to high census, they will let the patient know in advance.
Remaining keen during this time can be taxing and requires the collective efforts of all the staff. Rooney doesn’t describe the hospital as short-staffed, but does mention busier-than-usual shifts that, at times, exceed normal scheduled hours.
Ivinson Memorial Hospital is experiencing this pandemic much differently than the rest of the nation. This is partially because of the small population, but Rooney believes it is also due to the resources available through neighboring medical centers, stating the partnerships they have with surrounding hospitals is plentiful.
“[We have] so many resources we can pull from that helps if we get to a point where we need extra help,” Rooney said. She explained if a patient needs specialized care, their hospital has the resources to transfer either to Cheyenne or any of the University of Colorado Front Range hospitals.
The CDC and Wyoming Department of Health are responsible for the requisition and allocation of the vaccine. Rooney said the hospital is trying to forge a strong partnership with Albany County Public Health to ensure those who need the vaccine receive it.
Rooney addressed the rising concern about COVID-19 vaccination and said there will always be hesitancy anytime something is brand new. As a big supporter of vaccinations, Rooney thinks education informs [healthy] decisions.
Ivinson Memorial Hospital sends daily updates to the Wyoming Department of Health.
According to the CDC, the ModernaTX, Inc. mRNA vaccine (co-developed by the Cambridge Massachusetts-based biotechnology company and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) is a .5mL, two-shot dose administered 28 days apart. Like other vaccines, it is injected in the upper arm and has potential side effects: injection site pain, swelling, redness; chills tiredness and headaches.
Sources reveal the body of evidence informing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was a single randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that consisted of approximately 30,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 95.
To ensure a diverse pool of participants, 37% of trial volunteers were of racial and ethnic minorities.
The clinical trials showed reactogenicity — or physical symptom manifestations that occur after vaccination — were common but mild. The trials also reported a small number of people had severe symptoms that impeded their ability to perform daily tasks.
After a two-month follow-up, interim reports showed a 94.1% efficacy for symptomatic, lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection prevention — the study’s endpoint. According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ interim report, data suggests the Moderna vaccine may also provide some protection against asymptomatic infections.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine for individuals 18-years-old and older under an Emergency Use Authorization on Dec. 18.