Henry Ford Health System Marks First COVID-19 Vaccinations

December 17, 2020

DETROIT (December 17, 2020) – On what she described as a “monumental” day, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive and Henry Ford Hospital emergency medicine physician Joneigh Khaldun, M.D., joined other Henry Ford frontline healthcare workers from across the health system in being the first in Wayne County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Khaldun received her vaccine during a special livestreamed “First Vaccinations” event at Henry Ford Hospital this evening.

“Not only is this an historic day, but also an emotional day as well,” said Henry Ford Health System President and CEO Wright Lassiter III. “Many of our frontline team members were moved to tears when they learned they would be getting the vaccine today.”

“These front-line heroes have been putting their health and their lives on the line every day to provide care to those in our community who have been stricken with this disease,” added Lassiter. “For this, we owe them our deepest thanks, gratitude and admiration.”

Each of Henry Ford’s five hospitals received 975 doses of the vaccine early this morning, with the first workers receiving vaccine beginning mid-afternoon. Nearly 20 frontline doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists representing each of Henry Ford’s five hospitals participated in today’s event – each one excited to be an example for their co-workers and the community as to the importance of getting the vaccine when it is available.

“I think it’s a responsibility to show some tough love and lead by example,” said Rami Khoury, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Henry Ford Allegiance Health. “By being here, I believe I do that and give hope to others.”

In all, 500 Henry Ford frontline healthcare workers across the system received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m done being afraid,” said Davinia Schneider-Price, R.N., an intensive care unit nurse at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, “and this is going to give me more confidence in being able to go home, knowing that I’m not going to give it to my kids and my family.”

Joining Dr. Khaldun and the other frontline workers, Santa Claus, AKA Henry Ford Hospital NICU nurse administrator Murray Spears, who has been volunteering as Santa since 1993 by taking holiday photos with Henry Ford Hospital’s tiniest patients. This year, he has transitioned to providing virtual visits with Santa and often strolls his neighborhood to brighten spirits.

Just before taking off his coat to receive his vaccination, he told his fellow frontline workers, “This vaccine is the greatest Christmas miracle the world could receive this year,” adding his wish for everyone to have a safe and happy and masked holiday.

More than 4,700 frontline workers at Henry Ford are in highest-risk group that will be the first to be vaccinated. All should receive their first dose of vaccine by the end of the year. Henry Ford has been told it will receive additional shipments of vaccine so that each can receive the required second dose of vaccine three weeks after the first shot.

Henry Ford Hospital has also been asked to assist the City of Detroit in vaccinating its EMS personnel when the City receives its allocation of COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit our FAQ page.

About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes six hospitals including Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit; Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals; Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; Henry Ford Allegiance in Jackson, MI; and Henry Ford Kingswood Hospital – an inpatient psychiatric hospital.

Henry Ford Health System also includes Henry Ford Medical Group: Henry Ford Physician Network; more than 250 outpatient facilities; Henry Ford Pharmacy; Henry Ford OptimEyes; and other healthcare services. Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan – HAP – provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people.

As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows annually in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations.

Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals. For more information, go to henryford.com.

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MEDIA CONTACTS: John Gillespie / [email protected] / 314-708-9090   David Olejarz / [email protected] / 313-303-0606

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