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First doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered to frontline workers at Tri-County Health Care

by Trinity Gruenberg

The first three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer were administered at Tri-County Health Care (TCHC) on December 21.

TCHC received 150 doses of the vaccine. These were administered to staff over the next few days. A doctor and two nurses received the first shots. They shared it was pretty painless.

Acquiring the vaccine required a great deal of planning and collaboration. The first round of doses was picked up from the regional distribution site in Brainerd that is equipped with ultra-cold freezers. The vaccine was then taken to Tri-County Health Care in Wadena, where it was thawed and prepared for administration. The vaccine vials are stable for five days in the freezer.

Dr. Rachel Redig, Emergency Department Director, Trauma and Stroke Director, and ER doctor, was the first to receive the vaccine administered by Tara Erckenbrack, Surgical RN. Dr. Redig has worked at TCHC for three and a half years.

She shared that she felt fine after receiving the shot and didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary.

“It’s exciting. Glad to get it going,” said Dr. Redig. “I had more apprehension about not receiving the vaccine.”

The peak that hit a month ago, she noted, was the biggest challenge, so far, in her career. She explained the things they take for granted such as referring a patient to a specialist, was no longer an option.

She added with the healthcare system overrun, they couldn’t get stroke patients to the stroke neurologist. . .


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