CIRCLEVILLE — OhioHealth Berger Hospital Employees are among those receiving vaccines for COVID-19 as part of the first wave.

OhioHealth Berger began administering doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to their frontline workers on Wednesday, just as they did across the heath system. OhioHealth is administering them to the highest risk groups first, which includes those with direct access to patients in the hospitals.

“As infectious disease experts, we have known that for the tide to turn in this tremendous battle with a very deadly disease, we needed a vaccine, and now we are starting the next phase in saving lives,” Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, OhioHealth medical director of infectious diseases, said.

“This is the most critical moment we have been waiting months for. We believe, after going through the rigor of testing and trials, just at an accelerated pace, this vaccine is safe.”

The next phase of vaccinations will be those with moderate risk, including the OhioHealth Physician Group, rehabilitation and imaging. A third phase will vaccinate all OhioHealth Employees and each phase will depend on supply. The vaccine will then be rolled out at other OhioHealth sites in the same phase schedule depending on supply.

“At Berger, we are very excited about this next step in the battle against the deadly COVID-19 diseases,” Tim Colburn, president OhioHealth Berger Hospital said.

“We have worked together at OhioHealth to get the vaccine, to plan for our staff to get vaccinated, and to continue to care for our patients at the very highest levels. Our staff has answered the call, they have worked tirelessly to save lives, and now, this vaccine is for them, to keep them healthy as the battle against COVID-19 continues.”

OhioHealth invested in additional, ultra-low temperature storage freezers to store potentially hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses across the health system.

“We couldn’t be more excited for this day,” Dr. Gastaldo said. “This is light at the end of a months long tunnel. And while this isn’t the end, we are hopeful that it can be the beginning of the end, with the hope of vaccinations for the American public at large throughout 2021.”

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