GMH: Up to 75% of staff fully vaccinated by end of week

GMH: The exterior of Guam Memorial Hospital in Tamuning is shown on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Hospital officials have said around 70% to 75% of GMH staff will have received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

A total of 885 staff at Guam Memorial Hospital have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning, according to GMH Authority Associate Administrator William Kando, who was speaking during a GMHA board meeting that day.

Six residents at the Skilled Nursing Unit have been vaccinated while 834 "others" have also been vaccinated, Kando added, for a total of 1,725 vaccinations as of Wednesday.

The vaccines available need two doses to be fully effective. As of Wednesday, 450 GMH staff have received their second dose, according to hospital officials. Kando said around 70% to 75% of the staff will have received their second dose by the end of the week.

Second doses are being administered in phases, he added.

Hospital officials have heard that adverse reactions, such as fever, body aches and headaches, occur more commonly with the second dose. The anticipation is that a large influx of those who need the second dose will come in either Friday or Saturday because most are waiting to get the dose the day before a day off, according to discussions on Wednesday.

Kando said GMHA has been informed by the Department of Public Health and Social Services and the Guam International Airport Authority that another significant shipment of vaccines is expected this week.

Starting on Jan. 19, GMHA will be reassessing its supply of vaccines and opening to other groups, possibly to include front-liners from other agencies, Kando said.

"It's not good GovGuam business for these folks to be getting in long lines and they're not able to go back to work right away. We're trying to separate them from the public to allow them to come through quicker," Kando said. "About a week or so ago, we did accommodate (the Guam Fire Department) and (the Guam Police Department), although we didn't do all of GPD."

Kando said the focus was on their tier 1 staff and staff ages 60 and older.

As of Wednesday, there were three COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit and three on ventilator support. In the past, the highest ICU census was 17 while the highest number of COVID-19 patients on ventilator support was 12, according to Kando.

"You can tell that we definitely have achieved a lull, a break, that we thank God for," he said.

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