Since vaccinations began, fewer health care workers in Richmond have tested positive –

On Dec. 16, VCU injected its first vaccine into the arm of Audrey Roberson, a nurse manager of the medical respiratory intensive care unit. Within days, thousands of health care workers and their support staffs at VCU, Bon Secours and HCA received their first shot.

Six days later, the infection rate of VCU health care workers decreased 25%. By Jan. 19, 60% of VCU employees had received their first shot, and the number of sick employees had dropped 50% from its peak a month earlier. That means the vaccine seemingly made an impact before employees received their second dose.

The Pfizer vaccine trials reported recipients received a level of protection from the virus as early as 12 days after administration of the first dose. At VCU, 14 days after an employee received an inoculation, he or she was less likely to test positive than an employee who did not receive the vaccine, the letter writers wrote.

The Moderna vaccine arrived at VCU on Dec. 28. The hospital system offered immunizations to all of its 13,000 employees. As of this week, 69% have received both shots, and 60% have received one shot, the health system reported. Nearing its goal, VCU wants to vaccinate at least 70% of its employees.

At HCA, the seven-day average of associates calling out because of COVID has dropped 78% since the beginning of the year, spokesman Jeff Caldwell said. Other factors may have contributed besides the vaccine, Caldwell said, including a decline in overall hospitalizations, general fluctuation in COVID cases and the continued implementation of safety measures such as hand washing and masking.

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Since vaccinations began, fewer health care workers in Richmond have tested positive -

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