CommunityWilliam J. Ford

UMMS Workers Among First in Maryland to Receive Coronavirus Vaccine

Some of the first people in Maryland to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Monday are five health care workers with the University of Maryland Medical System.

Michael Schwartzberg, a spokesman for UMMS, said in an email the Pfizer vaccine arrived Monday morning at the state’s flagship academic hospital in downtown Baltimore. The vaccine will be distributed to other UMMS hospitals in the state that include Prince George’s Hospital in Cheverly and Laurel Medical Center.

According to a news release, the five UMMS employees are two physicians, a nurse, a respiratory therapist and an environment service worker.

The system received one tray of 975 vaccine doses and plans to receive an additional delivery later this week.

“For many months, we have been looking forward to the day when vaccines would be available to protect our health care workers and very soon for the community at large,” Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of UMMS, said in a statement. “As we begin vaccinations, and finally begin the process of ending this pandemic, I’m thankful to our UMMS and UM School of Medicine colleagues who have been working tirelessly to care for our community and lead in the development of innovative treatments and vaccines.”

Shawn Hendricks, a nursing director of medicine and cardiac services at the medical center in Baltimore, became the first UMMS worker to receive the vaccine.

The Baltimore City native oversees multiple units that care for COVID-19 patients that include the center’s new Modular Care Unit. Hendricks said her mother spent two months recovering from the virus. Her brother and brother-in-law also were diagnosed with COVID-19.

“I am a nurse on the front lines of care for [COVID-19] patients and I believe in the science behind the vaccine,” Hendricks, who now resides in neighboring Baltimore County, said in a statement. “I want my family and I to be safe from getting [COVID-19]. Unless people start to get vaccinated, I think this pandemic will last longer and get worse.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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