Covid-19 frontline staff and participants of pioneering study receive doses on Jan 20
The Covid-19 vaccines arrived at PUCRS’ São Lucas Hospital (HSL) on Wednesday, Jan 20. The Coronavac vaccine, produced by the Chinese company Sinovac, in partnership with the Butantan Institute, and approved for emergency use last Sunday by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), began to be administered at 11:30 AM at HSL. Five staff members of the priority group took the first shots: Covid-19 frontline professionals who work in inpatient units, Intensive Care Units (ICU) and ER. Other staff members will be called gradually to avoid crowds.
For HSL’s General Director, Leandro Firme, this is a turning point for the whole institution. “It is a mixture of satisfaction, gratitude and hope. We are very happy to start immunizing our employees and medical doctors who have been tirelessly on the front line for over ten months, assisting so many people who were affected by the coronavirus ”. He stressed that the Research Center has consolidated itself as a pioneering facility in one of the most important studies for humanity to date. “This brought an effective collective health response to save so many lives”.
For HSL’s Assistance Director, Simone Ventura, this is such a memorable day full of hope. “We have been through difficult times and this is really important and touching. It is the beginning of better times.” Orderly João Carlos Marques was one of the first staff members of the institution to receive the shots at the end of this morning. “It is a lot of emotion, expectations and anxiety. We hope that everyone will be vaccinated soon, and then we can meet our friends and family. Hopefully we will be as happy as we used to be before”. ICU doctor Alessandra Dorsh could not contain her emotion after receiving the vaccine: “We have spent so many endless months engulfed in anguish and this vaccine brings a sense of hope for better times. It was hard to not to shed a tear for this is such a memorable moment”.
After being approved by the Butantan Institute, this morning, participants who received the Coronavac placebo shot also began to receive the vaccine, to ensure proper immunization. Participants will be requested to come to the hospital gradually to avoid crowds, as this is an integral part of the tests that brought together 1,335 volunteers over five months.
Fabiano Ramos, head of the hospital’s Infectious Disease Service and lead researcher, claims to be very happy to see the result of the months-long work of PUCRS’ São Lucas Hospital, especially with the team that is conducting the study in the development of this vaccine. “It is a great victory to see the outcomes of this study reaching out to the population and, mainly, professionals on the front line”.
HSL was a pioneer in Rio Grande do Sul in testing the effectiveness of the vaccine along with 15 other centers across the country. That was a fundamental step for the approval and beginning of vaccination throughout the country. The vaccine, which is totally safe, has proven to be effective in 100% of severe cases that can lead to hospitalization or death.