Geisinger isn’t just treating those who have COVID-19. We’re working to prevent the spread. The COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital opened on Friday, Jan. 22, to serve a community that has suffered the loss of loved ones, friends and neighbors to the virus.

“The COVID-19 vaccines that Geisinger is providing to our communities offer hope,” said Kirk Thomas, chief administrative officer of the Western Region. “We’re sharing a life-saving dose of hope with our friends, loved ones, colleagues and communities.”

Brian Simpkins (pictured), assistant director of pharmacy services at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital said that as of Wednesday, Jan. 27, 998 Pfizer and 2,570 Moderna vaccines had been administered at the clinic. He plans for another 1,520 vaccines to be distributed now through Saturday, Jan. 30. Brian and his team have been instrumental in ensuring the vaccines are safely mixed and dispersed to the clinic in a professional and timely manner.

The atmosphere in the tent is upbeat and positive. Approximately 10 patients receive the vaccine every 10 minutes from staff who have volunteered to serve.

One of those employee volunteers, Michele Morrison, an associate executive assistant, said, “I feel so blessed and honored to be part of the vaccine rollout for the community. It is such a rewarding experience to know that you are helping to save lives, especially when you are not a clinical person but you have the opportunity to utilize your talents in other ways such as checking patients into the clinic, assisting them to the vaccine booth, and ensuring that they don’t have a reaction.”

Kenzie Snook is a registered nurse with Geisinger and has also given her time to work in the clinic. She explained, “I am so excited that we are now able to offer vaccines to some of our high-risk patients. When I worked for a day at the COVID vaccine clinic, people were so excited about getting their shot they were giddy.”

Another employee, Elena Denger, pharmacy resident, explained her experience working in the clinic. “The community has been so kind. Everyone is so excited to get the vaccine and excited to return to their daily lives.”

Michele continued, “I have enjoyed my time and the comradery of the staff working the vaccine clinic. I thank Geisinger for this opportunity.”

Even though we’re in the early stages of vaccine distribution, we look forward to beating the virus. Kirk Thomas concluded, “I’m optimistic about future outcomes related to overcoming the virus. Together, we will beat COVID-19.”