(Joplin, MO) – A Mercy Joplin doctor was the first in Joplin to get the vaccine to fight the novel coronavirus.
The Pfizer vaccine, which just received emergency use authorization on December 11 from the FDA, arrived at Mercy Hospital Joplin about 10:00 am on December 15. It was quickly moved into the ultra-cold freezer, set aside for its storage. From there, pharmacy staff began the process of thawing the vaccine in a designated refrigerator.
In all, six doses were administered at Mercy Joplin on December 15. In order, Dr. Eden Esguerra, an infectious disease specialist; Dr. William Craig, a cardiologist; Dr. Lydia Espinoza-Morales, a hospitalist; Judy Russell, a nurse practitioner; Donna Stokes, infection preventionist; and Kevin Manning, chief nursing officer, received the first doses in Joplin.
“Mercy thanks our co-workers who are the first in this community to receive the vaccine for setting the example that it is safe and effective,” said Jeremy Drinkwitz, president of Mercy Hospital Joplin. “This is a step we should all take to bring an end to this pandemic. Still, we know it will take time for the vaccine to protect everyone, so please continue to mask up, social distance, wash your hands frequently, and, if you haven’t already, get a flu shot.”
Plans are not in place yet for public vaccinations. When those supplies arrive, Mercy will work with its health care partners, including local health department, to inform the public and distribute the vaccine.
For media members interested, a Google Drive folder with photos and video of the vaccines’ arrival and administration is available upon request. Mercy also plans to allow the media to attend and cover a slate of vaccinations scheduled for Thursday, December 17 at a time to be determined. Co-workers both administering and receiving the vaccine will be available for interviews at that time.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems from 2016 to 2019 by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 45,000 co-workers and 2,400 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy’s IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.
Jordan Larimore, Senior Media Relations & Communications
Mercy Hospital Joplin