Vaccine arrives as all ventilators are in use at Jackson General

JACKSON, Tenn. — As Madison County posted its fourth straight day of 100+ new COVID-19 cases, health officials say there is hope, with a vaccine now ready.

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“For frontline COVID workers, we’ll be starting COVID vaccinations for them,” said Dr. Jackie Taylor, West Tennessee Healthcare Chief Physician Executive.

The first is the Pfizer vaccine, which was distributed Friday in Madison County.

The second is the Moderna vaccine.

“We’re supposed to get the first shipment of the Moderna product, Monday I believe. Half the allotment will be here, supposedly Monday. I’m thinking around 300 or 400 doses,” said Dr. David Bryan, medical director for the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department. “That’s not going to go very far. So we’ll get another shipment a week later, so it’s going to be a slow process in the beginning, so it’ll be a while before we get through all the phases.”

The vaccines combined will cover around 2,000 frontline healthcare workers in Madison County.

The vaccine will be essential in the coming months, as doctors at the hospital think the worst is yet to come.

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“The gatherings of the coming holidays will be a potential expectation that it’s going to surge again, that we will have more cases that come in,” said Dr. Priscilla Sioson-Aherrera, infectious disease specialist at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

Now, with every single ventilator in use, officials are urging precautions, with reminders that even the best treatment might not be enough.

“Most of our people going on ventilators are not coming off alive. Probably 75 or 80 percent of our ventilator patients are dying on the ventilator,” said Dr. James Leavey with JMCGH.

Dr. Taylor also confirmed 120 active cases in Madison County as of Friday.

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