Mercy nurses who have been at the bedside, caring for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, are the first in Springfield to get the vaccine to fight the virus. The Pfizer vaccine, which just received emergency use authorization from the FDA, arrived at Mercy Hospital Springfield about 7:30 Monday morning. It was quickly moved into the ultra-cold freezer set aside for its storage. From there, pharmacy staff began the process of thawing a portion of the vaccine in a designated refrigerator. The two nurses, Tracy Hill and Wanda Brown said the process was painless.

Mercy caregivers will be prioritized for the vaccine, based on state guidelines. Those working directly with COVID-19 patients are receiving it first. Plans are not in place yet for public vaccinations. When those supplies arrive, Mercy will work with its health care partners, including local health departments, to inform the public and distribute the vaccine. Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, says if you get vaccinated, you still need to take safety precautions.

Bailey says no live viruses are in the flu or COVID-19 vaccines. She says if you get the flu or COVID-19 right after getting the immunization, that means you were vaccinated too late and the virus was already in you.