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Geisinger’s employees begin receiving second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Geisinger’s health care heroes are now receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Wednesday morning, exactly 21 days since vaccine doses first were given within the health system, employees returned and rolled up their sleeves to get their second dose. In three weeks Geisinger has ramped up to the point of more than 1,000 vaccines per day over the past week, totaling approximately 12,000 people with their first dose of the COVID vaccine. When people get their first doses, they’re scheduled immediately to receive their second dose. Receiving that second dose is a critical step in the COVID vaccine process.

Both doses are necessary to trigger the immune response needed to develop an immunity level against COVID-19. Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center nurse Tara Skutack was the first health care worker to receive the second vaccine dose on Wednesday at the hospital. “I received the COVID vaccine for my family and patients,” Skutack said.

“I’m excited for a better and healthier future. So far, I’m feeling great.” Resident physician Muhammad Sabih Saleem, M.D., said he received the vaccine as a step in moving forward, and as someone who cares for COVID patients. “I currently work in the intensive care unit and see COVID patients every day,” Saleem said. “It’s up to us to take this first step forward so that everyone else will join us when the vaccine becomes available to them. I feel relieved after getting the vaccine — we have been waiting for it for a long time. It’s a step towards a better future.”

Geisinger has been receiving the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at facilities over the past few weeks. The Pfizer vaccine was received first, and front-line employee vaccines began on December 16. Both vaccines require two doses, with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine requiring a second dose 21 days after the first, and the Moderna vaccine requiring a second dose 28 days after the first. Emergency medicine physician Luke Sullivan, D.O., said his family was a major motivator for why he received the vaccine

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