By Brian Harmon |
South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore became one of the first hospitals in the nation on Wednesday to administer the single-shot Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
First up was hospital patient Susan Maxwell-Trumble, 67, of Babylon. She received the shot in left arm as she readied for discharge after her March 1 hip replacement surgery.
“I have a few preexisting conditions and this vaccine will allow me some more freedom in my life,” said Maxwell-Trumble, who worked in the music industry with such rock stars as Ozzy Osborn.
Maxwell-Trumble, who volunteered to get the one-shot inoculation, thanked Northwell Health for the vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA for emergency use in the United States. South Shore University Hospital is part of Northwell Health, which saw the arrival of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at several of its hospitals on Wednesday.
Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is 86-percent effective against the most severe form of COVID-19 and no patients who received the vaccine in their trials died or required hospitalization. It joins the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in use throughout the United States.
“The addition of a third vaccine adds another weapon to the arsenal in fighting COVID-19,” said Stephen Bello, PA, regional executive director of Northwell’s Eastern Region. “In preparation for this over the last 48 hours, we’ve been thinking about the last year in which we’ve battled COVID-19 every day.
“When this started there was really only one weapon to fight this virus; the hard work, knowledge and dedication of the health care community,” he added.
Since Northwell’s first inoculation Dec. 14 — when Northwell vaccinated the first person in the nation under FDA approval — the health care system has vaccinated more than 100,000 people, including 52,000 team members.
The beginning of March marks the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in New York state. More than 517,000 people across the nation — including more than 48,000 New Yorkers — have died from the virus.
Last April, with 327 COVID-19 patients, South Shore University Hospital (formerly known as Southside Hospital) was at 120 percent capacity and considered the COVID-19 epicenter of Suffolk County, said Donna Moravick, the hospital’s executive director.
“I’ve been in health care for over 40 years as a nurse and nurse practitioner,” she said. “What I’ve seen here over the last year, I’ve never witnessed before. The most difficult thing was when you went home and you couldn’t tell your family what your day was like.”
As a one-dose inoculation that can be stored at regular refrigerated temperatures and can stay viable for up to three months, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is easy to transport, store and distribute. It is expected to boost the capacity to vaccinate twice the number of people over the same period of time.