Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services has joined the list of those giving their first COVID-19 vaccines to its employees. Officials say this will make a big difference for those on the frontline.
“The joy at our clinics where our staff is already receiving the vaccine is palpable. It truly is a life-saving event and we’re so very pleased that we are able to provide this to our staff.”
Bob Nykamp is the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. On Monday, he says the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines were given to Pine Rest Employees. Pine Rest received 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which accounts for about half of the Pine Rest staff. Nykamp says this first allotment, will really help employees who have been responsible for helping those who have experienced unprecedented strain on their mental health.
“This special care unit, one of only 2 in Michigan was designed specifically to treat those acute psychiatrically ill patients who have a positive COVID diagnosis. These staff are at the highest risk of any healthcare workers and so they obviously are the first we offered the vaccine to out of our 2000 employees.”
Nykamp says the distribution of the vaccine has already reduced the stress many of the staff have endured.
“The staff have already commented about the reduction of anxiety, of working with this covid positive population and the general population, where 11-15% are going to be covid positive as well. Getting the vaccine and getting it started, obviously the first of two doses, does have already a positive protective value to it. It is putting them at ease.”
Nykamp says of course staff will continue to wear their PPE. He adds they are encouraging all staff to get the vaccine, but it is voluntary. Those who received the first round will get the second required dose in about 3 weeks.