2 Baltimore hospitals get vaccine, 5 workers inoculated

BALTIMORE — Maryland’s first doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine have arrived at two Baltimore hospitals as health care workers at one of the facilities began to get inoculated.

A shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived Monday at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Two physicians, a nurse, a respiratory therapist and an environmental service worker received their first dose.

The vaccine requires two doses.

During a Zoom conference, Gov. Larry Hogan thanked the first responders who were administered the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ffirst UMMS employee to receive the vaccine was Shawn Hendricks, a nurse who oversees multiple units that care for patients with coronavirus, became the first employee at University of Maryland Medical system to receive the vaccine.

“We’ve been on the frontlines since March caring for COVID patients, sometimes being the last hand that a patient would hold, so hope I think is the appropriate word and I think it was one of the reasons I definitely was more than welcoming of a vaccine,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks’ mother spent two months recovering from coronavirus. Her brother and brother-in-law also were diagnosed.

“I want my family and I to be safe from getting COVID. Unless people start to get vaccinated, I think this pandemic will last longer, and get worse,” Hendricks said.

Daisy Solares, a nurse who has provided care for COVID patients, also received the first doses of the vaccine.

“I feel very honored to represent my department also to represent the Latino community as well, but most importantly I was so excited but also emotional today. Unfortunately my father passed away from the virus so I’m basically doing it in honor of him,” Solares said.

She says she had mixed emotions about returning to work after her father died, however she feels strongly about helping the Latino community understand the importance of taking the vaccine.

“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 Dr. Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of UMMS.

“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,” Suntha said.

Johns Hopkins Medicine said in a statement Monday evening that it had received its initial doses and expects to begin administering shots to frontline healthcare on Wednesday.

WTOP’s Valerie Bonk contributed to this report.

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