Front-Line Medical Workers Receive First COVID-19 Vaccinations in Sioux City, IA

Dec 17, 2020

MERCYONE SIOUXLAND C19 VACCINATIONS
Credit Siouxland News/KMEG/FOX44

Sioux City’s two hospitals received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine today. 

This is audio from a live stream from Siouxland News KMEG 14-FOX 44 television on Facebook this afternoon of two veteran front-line health care workers getting their shots at MercyOne. 

Nurse, Mary Jones and the Medical Director for Emergency Medicine Siouxland Dr. Joe Liewer were the first two to get their shots.  Both have worked for more than 25 years at the hospital. 

Beth Hughes is President at MercyOne.

“This in an incredible day for us today for here at Siouxland Medical Center and for the community and healthcare providers.”

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s issued a news release saying the facility planned to start vaccinating team members later this afternoon.

The Chief Clinical Officer for UnityPoint says “This is the light at the end of the tunnel that many across the world have been waiting for.  We are optimistic that scores of lives will be saved thanks to medical science.”

The first found of vaccinations includes team members with the highest COVID-19 exposure risk.

UnityPoint is strongly encouraging, but not requiring their staff to receive the vaccine.  As supplies increase overtime officials with the hospital say all adults who want the vaccine should receive it later in 2021.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has said the vaccine should be available to the general public starting in April.  However, the original doses coming to the state were reduced by a third.  Also, the vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed.

News release from UnityPoint-Health St. Luke’s:

UnityPoint Health – Sioux City Receives First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

First Round of Healthcare Workers Will Be Vaccinated Today

Sioux City, Iowa (December 17, 2020) – UnityPoint Health – Sioux City has received its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and will start vaccinating its team members later this afternoon. As mandated by the CDC, healthcare workers are among the first to receive the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is not available to the general public at this time.

“This is the light at the end of the tunnel that many across the world have been waiting for,” said UnityPoint Health Chief Clinical Officer, David Williams, MD. “We are optimistic that scores of lives will be saved thanks to medical science.”

UnityPoint Health is committed to ensuring an effective, efficient and fair distribution process of the vaccine to its team members and has been working closely with state and local public health departments leading up to today’s announcement. The Federal Government is managing vaccine distribution to the states, with state public health departments determining the number of doses available for health care systems and other priority populations in each state.

The first round of vaccinations includes team members with the highest COVID-19 exposure risk. These individuals were offered the first available doses of vaccine. In the coming weeks, UnityPoint Health anticipates additional doses of the vaccine will quickly become available, providing more team members the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Similar to their policy around the flu shot, UnityPoint Health strongly encourages, but does not require team members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

As supplies increase over time, all adults who choose to receive the vaccine should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed.

Although significant progress continues in the development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to practice COVID-19 safety measures for the foreseeable future. Even after a person is vaccinated, they should continue to stay home when sick, wear a mask and social distance.

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About UnityPoint Health – Sioux City

As part of UnityPoint Health – Sioux City which includes UnityPoint Clinic and UnityPoint at Home, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s offers a vast network of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals committed to coordinating care to meet the individual needs of our patients. UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s is one of the region’s most patient and family-centered hospitals, delivering innovative care to communities in the tri-state area including Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.  St. Luke’s treats more than 101,600 patients annually, coordinating care from the doctor’s office to the hospital and back home through St. Luke’s, UnityPoint Clinic and UnityPoint at Home.

Using a team approach, the physicians and specialists of UnityPoint Clinic are committed to helping patients manage their health. Through more than 64,400 patient visits annually and with services including family practice, general surgery, pulmonary and critical care, occupational medicine, and cardiology, UnityPoint Clinic is focused on getting patients healthy sooner and keeping them healthy.

For patients who need additional care at home, UnityPoint at Home provides services and equipment including nursing care, infusion therapy, respiratory therapy, rehabilitation, home medical equipment and supplies. The UnityPoint at Home team, which includes registered nurses certified in chronic care management, work with each patient to find the right home care solution based on their unique needs.

Through our mission to improve the health of the people and the communities we serve, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s, UnityPoint Clinic and UnityPoint at Home work together to ensure the best outcome for every patient every time. For more information, visit unitypoint.org.

About UnityPoint Health

UnityPoint Health is one of the nation's most integrated health systems. Through relationships with more than 280 physician clinics, 32 hospitals in metropolitan and rural communities and home care services throughout its 9 regions, UnityPoint Health provides care throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. UnityPoint Health entities employ more than 30,000 employees, working toward innovative advancements to become the Midwest’s premier health system known for redesigning the health care experience. For more information, visit unitypointhealth.org.