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DECATUR Today, December 16, 2020, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital administered the first COVID-19 vaccine doses to hospital colleagues Ryan Williams and Sr. Ritamary Brown and Dr. Wajih Raqeem of the HSHS Medical Group. All the vaccines were administered smoothly and safely.

The doses were administered to clinical colleagues providing direct patient care, all of who voluntarily consented to receive the vaccine. At this time, Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is not requiring its colleagues to receive the vaccination, although they are recommending colleagues receive the vaccine when it is available to them.

HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital will be following the CDC guidelines to determine during which phases their colleagues will receive the vaccine. Locally, they will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department.

HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital CEO Michael Hicks shared, “This is an exciting time for our hospital as we are thrilled to be able to provide an additional level of protection for our colleagues who continue to provide exceptional and compassionate patient care in the midst of this pandemic.  It is the first of many steps to come, but the journey begins with one step,” he said. “We are grateful to have this a tool in our tool chest to combat this virus.”

HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital still encourages people to do their part to decrease the number of COVID cases in the community. “Even though some doses of the vaccine have arrived, and more will be coming, we want to remind the community that the pandemic is not over,” Hicks said. “We must continue to be diligent with hand washing, social distancing, masking and staying home when we are ill. For those who need care, we are always here so we are also encouraging community members to not delay their care.”

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