One year ago today, in a historic moment, a group of Brigham staff eagerly gathered to watch as Catalina González Marqués, MD, MPH, became the first person in the Brigham community and one of the first physicians across the nation to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine administrator, Sarah Kirchofer, MSN, RN, NP-C, NE-BC, interim director of Occupational Health Services, smiled at Marqués after delivering the vaccine and said, “Welcome to history,” as the crowd erupted into applause.
Today, Dec. 16, marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout from the Brigham’s Hale Building for Transformative Medicine. Twenty-two months into the pandemic, the vaccines have provided a glimmer of hope and relief to healthcare workers and community members alike.
“It’s hard to find adequate words to express how grateful I am to the many Brigham employees who have worked to vaccinate our staff and patients during this past year,” said Karl Laskowski, MD, MBA, associate chief medical officer. “Their work has saved lives, and meant so much to all of us during this difficult time. We are so thankful for all they do.”
Since last December, hundreds of employees and volunteers have worked around the clock to administer thousands of doses of the vaccines to eligible staff and patients, often doing overtime and coming in over the holidays and on weekends. In the face of our constantly changing environment, Brigham clinicians, support and administrative staff have consistently gone above and beyond to address emerging challenges with compassion.
As we reflect on this milestone with gratitude, we recognize Brigham staff for their tremendous efforts to fight the ongoing pandemic.
“I am so proud of the team who made this all happen. It took a village, and we want to thank all who participated, including, but not limited to pharmacists, ambulatory capacity management, information systems and digital health, registrars, check-in staff, environmental services staff, vaccinators, occupational health and so many more,” said Julia Sinclair, MBA, senior vice president of Clinical Services. “I would like to give a special shout out of appreciation to the current leadership team who works tirelessly every day to support our employees and patients; Paula Kackley, MBA; Karl Laskowski, MD, MBA; Pam Cormier, MSN, RN, AHN-BC; Kelly Fanning, MBA; and Raj Patel, MD, MPH.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that everyone age eighteen and older get a booster shot. Booster shots are available at clinics across the Boston area, like CVS and Walgreens, and eligible employees may schedule their booster shot appointment at a Mass General Brigham vaccine clinic via COVID Pass.