Care New England receives vaccine shipment; Starts vaccinations at Women & Infants, Kent Hospital

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island’s biggest hospital systems now have their hands on Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

Lifespan received its shipment Monday, and Care New England’s shipment arrived Tuesday morning. The hospital systems started vaccinating workers immediately.

Tuesday afternoon, frontline workers at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence and at Kent Hospital in Warwick were vaccinated, many saying they already feel less anxious about the pandemic.

The first of Care New England’s vaccinations started at Women & Infants, where President and CEO Dr. James Fanale got the first dose.

“It’s like Christmas morning waking up, the Christmas tree has this big gift. It’s incredibly exciting,” Dr. Fanale said about the vaccine arriving that morning.

Then came workers like Susan Rocha, and EVS Aide. She cleans hospital rooms and operating rooms from top to bottom, a job made more stressful by the pandemic.

“I was getting anxiety sometimes, especially when they say, oh, we have a COVID room,” Rocha said. “The first one was awful. I was scared to death. But then after that, you get a little used to it. But you still have that fear, you know, did I touch my mask, did I touch my face or whatever.”

Now vaccinated with the first round, her mind is at ease.

“I just went with my gut. I said I’m gonna go get it. I’m really happy I did. I do, I feel a lot better already.”

Then Kent Hospital staff were up for their vaccinations. President and COO Robert Haffey was first up.

“It’s a light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of us,” said Christine Noel, a secretary in Kent Hospital’s COVID unit.

Working on the front lines, Noel has seen the worst of the worst.

“I’ve seen a lot of tragedy. A lot of families not being able to be with their loved ones, a lot of phone calls crying on the other end. Even with our coworkers, we cry together, we try to laugh together, we support each other. It’s been a rough nine months.”

But now, she’s filled with hope.

“I do feel safer. It’s a relief to finally have a vaccination and see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Both hospital systems will continue vaccinating workers over the next several months.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island