Ascension Providence employees among first Michiganders to receive COVID vaccine

10 employees received vaccine Wednesday morning, hundreds more on the horizon

Ascension Providence employees get first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Among the first Michiganders to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine were 10 health care workers at Ascension Providence Hospital on Wednesday morning.

With the first COVID-19 vaccines beginning to roll out in Michigan and across the U.S., many are feeling the end of the global health crisis is finally in view.

“It just feels like we are on the road to getting everything back to what we like to call normal, and I’m really thrilled and excited about it,” said Ascension nurse Russel Patel.

Patel was one of the 10 frontline workers who received the COVID vaccine Wednesday morning.

Though the hospital received nearly 2,000 doses Wednesday morning, Ascension officials say only 10 employees were vaccinated because they are taking their time with the vaccine rollout to ensure everything goes smoothly.

“There’s just enough nuances to this that we want to ensure that we’re being very thoughtful and going through all of our processes,” said Ascension Michigan Vice President of Operations Excellence, Tammy Merkel. “Our goal is to vaccinate all of our health care (workers) -- our physicians, our nurses, our associates, our partners.”

On Thursday Dec. 17, officials say 300 to 400 Ascension employees will receive COVID-19 vaccinations -- and that number will continue to rise each day as the vaccine becomes more widely available. Michigan officials believe that enough doses will be available by the spring of 2021 for all eligible individuals to receive the vaccine.

More: Michigan officials: COVID vaccine to be distributed in 4 phases, prioritize frontline workers

Until the vaccine becomes available to the general public, health officials are still encouraging Michigan residents to continue taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

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About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.