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CoxHealth, Mercy reports reduction in number of employees contracting COVID-19; fewer allergic reactions to vaccine too

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 9:43 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - CoxHealth begins its second round of COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers Tuesday. Mercy moved on to the next phase, vaccinating those 65 and older and high risk individuals.

CoxHealth has vaccinated about 54% of its employees so far, but CoxHealth System Director of Quality and Safety Corrine Fugitt tells KY3 many of those who decided not to get it have now opted in for the vaccine.

“A lot of people may have been cautious at first, but now that they’ve seen our coworkers get the vaccine and the low adverse reactions that we have had, they might feel more comfortable and confident about receiving it,” said Fugitt.

She said there is now a wait-list for CoxHealth employees wanting to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. So far, the hospital reports just one employee has had a severe reaction to the vaccine.

”The most common side effects that we saw, and that were seen in the study, were headache and site pain and tenderness,” Fugitt said.

Mercy Springfield’s Vice President of Primary Care Dr. David Barbe said side effects are not uncommon, and they mean your immune system is reacting to the vaccine. Dr. Barbe said it can vary as to when side effects show up.

”I was surprised, it’s very much a mixed bag,” he said.”Some had trouble with their first vaccination and none with their second, others had no trouble with their first and a lot of trouble with their second, some had trouble with both and some with neither. “

Both Fugitt and Barbe said COVID-19 cases among employees appear to be going down.

”We have seen a reduction in that number [of daily infected employees] of about 50% since our vaccination clinic, from the first dose,” Fugitt said.

Dr. Barbe said Mercy is able to track the number of employees out on quarantine at one time. He said at one point the number of employees out for the virus was up to 175, but now it is back down to about 75 employees.

”Maybe it’s the vaccine, maybe it’s a combination of things, but we’re certainly seeing fewer coworkers off work now at Mercy,” Dr. Barbe said.

Both hospitals told KY3 many of those employees testing positive for COVID-19 did not contact the virus while they were working.

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