OSF St. Joseph Medical Center receives vaccines, comes as surprise

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MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Just in time for Christmas, the staff at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington received a gift they waited all year for: a vaccine.

As previously reported, the vaccine was shipped to the 50 counties in the state with the highest death rates.

McLean County was not one of them in the first round, but after learning Knox County had extra doses, vice president of pharmacy operations for OSF HealthCare, Sandy Salverson, moved quickly for state approval to transfer the vaccine, according to a press release.

OSF president Lynn Fulton explained Pfizer sent an extra dose within vials, plus there were additional doses after all 1A tier health care and support personnel received their first shots in the western Illinois region this week.

Kristin Wilkins, APRN, APN Pulmonology, works with COVID-19 patients who often need to be put on respirators. Wilkins said she felt so much relief – and hope – when she heard she was going to get vaccinated much earlier than anticipated.

“We’ve been going through quite a bit these last nine months and I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hopeful for the community, for my co-workers, my peers that this is the answer we’ve been looking for,” she said.

Fulton said it was an unexpected Christmas miracle for thrilled frontline Mission Partners (employees).

“Oh they were so excited. Some of them were even emotional to get the opportunity to get this vaccine. They really viewed it as a gift to be one of the first to receive it,” she said.

Another assurance the vaccine would be safe came in the form of a blessing by OSF St Joseph Medical Center Manager of Pastoral Services, Gayle Cyrilik who said a specially written COVID blessing and sprinkled holy water as a final gesture.

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