COVID-19 vaccines

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to critical care medical workers at St. John’s Health on Thursday and Friday.

Of the 338 health care workers to receive the coronavirus vaccine by Friday, two have had minor reactions, St. John’s Health CEO Paul Beaupre said.

One felt lightheaded but did not faint. Another reported feeling feverish and experiencing a headache, so the hospital asked the worker to stay home, Beaupre said during a community COVID-19 update livestreamed Friday by the town of Jackson.

The hospital also has been getting extra doses out of each vial, so the shipment of 975 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine actually contained 1,150 doses, Beaupre said.

“This vaccine is like liquid gold to us,” he said. “We’re not letting a drop of it go to waste.”

Beaupre then made a plea for the public to contact U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, U.S. Sen.-Elect Cynthia Lummis and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney to advocate speeding up shipments.

“I’ve heard from very credible sources today that Pfizer is sitting on a tremendous amount of vaccine in their warehouses, and they’re having difficulties getting authorization to ship it out to the communities,” Beaupre said.

With the current supply, the hospital and county public health department are working through a list of 17 priority groups based on national and state guidelines. Teton County Director of Health Jodie Pond said she expected the county to get through group 12 — nursing home residents — in this first round.

Beaupre added: “If we vary from the list we will lose all of our ability to get additional vaccines for this community.”

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or rebecca@jhnewsandguide.com.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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