Nic gets the shot

Nic Vust of Sanford Sheldon receives a dose of the coronavirus vaccine from RN Nancy Bruns at Sanford Sheldon Medical Center on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

SHELDON—Sheldon recorded its first COVID-19 case on April 1 and three days before Christmas the long-awaited vaccine for the virus attributed to the deaths of at least 50 O’Brien County residents arrived in the community.

Sanford Sheldon Medical Center received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, allocated by the Iowa Department of Health, on Dec. 22. Front-line staff were vaccinated the same day.

“This is a big day for us, and a milestone moment in the fight against COVID-19,” said Sanford Sheldon senior director Rick Nordahl. “We recognize this is only the beginning of a long process to vaccinate our community, but having a safe and effective vaccine is a huge step in the right direction to help bring the pandemic under control.”

According to Sanford, it expects to continue receiving weekly shipments of vaccine, with initial doses prioritized for front-line health-care workers and long-term care residents. The guidelines for vaccination priorities are set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While initial doses are limited, the Iowa Department of Health estimates it will be available to anyone who wants in 2021, although no specific timeline was given.

For Sheldon’s front-line health workers who have been fighting the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, the vaccine’s arrival could not have come any sooner.

Dr. William Jongewaard, a surgeon at Sanford Sheldon and one of the first staff members to receive the vaccine in the facility, shared his thoughts on vaccine

“I have seen the destruction this virus can do firsthand, and this vaccine will help keep me and our health-care team safe so we can keep taking care of our patients,” he said

“While vaccine doses are limited today, I’m looking forward to the near future when the vaccine is available to everyone in our community, and I would urge everyone to take it.”