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Pittsfield hospital staff celebrate arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

“This is a very exciting day for all of us because the vaccine brings hope,” Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital president Terri Vieira said.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — The arrival of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield brought with it hope and celebration—a welcomed change from what front line health care workers have endured throughout the pandemic.

“This is a very exciting day for all of us because the vaccine brings hope,” hospital president Terri Vieira said. “It marks a big boost in our efforts to combat COVID-19.

The hospital received 200 doses of the vaccine with more expected next week.

As the shipment was delivered, staff clapped and cheered.

Vieira says the vaccine is voluntary for staff. Vaccinations are expected to begin this week and Vieira says the hospital is hopeful that all staff who want the vaccine will be able to get it within the next month – depending on the availability of the vaccine.

On Tuesday, staff unpacked the vials and began implementing monitoring protocols and thawing the vaccine in preparation for staff vaccinations, associate vice president and director of pharmacy at Sebasticook Valley Hospital Tyson Thornton said.

“The Moderna vaccine only requires a regular freezer, not the super-low temperature freezers that the Pfizer vaccine demands,” Thornton said.

Thornton added, “As employees sign up for their first dose of the vaccine this week and next week, they will automatically be signed up for their booster shot in 28 days. We are also providing vaccine education forums and one-on-one support so that staff can ask questions and feel fully informed of the science surrounding the efficacy and safety of this vaccine.”

Regarding vaccinations for the public, Thornton said that Northern Light Health hospitals continue to work closely with the Maine CDC on a process and timeline.