COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Elkhart General, Rose Speights and Michelle Bache

Nearly 1,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Elkhart General on Thursday. Pictured are Cindie McPhie, vice president of Operations, left; and Dr. Michele Bache, vice president of Medical Affairs, carrying in a box of the vaccine.

ELKHART — The first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Elkhart General Hospital around 10 a.m. Thursday, giving health care workers and the community at large a much-needed boost in morale.

The hospital received 975 doses via FedEx, and the first shot will be given at 7 a.m. Friday, hospital officials said. According to the CDC, health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first to receive the vaccine.

“We’re excited to finally be kind of driving out of this pandemic, and it’s really that ray of hope and light that we all see,” Elkhart General President Carl Risk said in a video released by the hospital.

Elkhart General officials said the hospital’s most critical staff members will be vaccinated first.

“We’re very excited because this has been a very long pandemic and it’s been hard for all of us,” said Kelly Jolliff, manager of Infection Prevention and Emergency Preparedness. “Hopefully this pandemic will come to an end at some point in the near future.”

Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson said arrival of the vaccine in the community was welcome news.

“I’m in awe of the professionals who have put their health and safety at risk this year for our benefit,” Roberson said. “Watching them receive their first doses is inspiring and overwhelming. We will never be able to thank our frontline health care workers enough for what they have done for us. This vaccine will finally give them a sense of protection and relief.”

The mayor said he would wait his turn to get the shot, but when it’s time for him to sign up, “I will not hesitate.”

“We have been desperate to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s starting to flicker,” he said.

Elkhart General has more information, including an FAQ section, about the vaccine available at www. coronavirus.beaconhealth system.org/vaccine/.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter at @ReadRasmus

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