Memorial Healthcare began vaccinating employees this week

As previously reported, Memorial Healthcare System launched its COVID-19 vaccine program for frontline staff this week. It is one of only five healthcare systems in Florida chosen by the governor’s office as host for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine (pictured above).

At a news conference announcing the program this week, CEO Aurelio Fernandez said receiving vaccines is a historic event for the healthcare system, which saw its first COVID-19 patient on March 7.

“[Memorial employees] were true heroes,” he said. “Now for the first time we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. This is going to be a long journey. It’s not over by any means but, nevertheless, it is the beginning of something that’s going to be very, very positive.”

The vaccine will be given to employees that work in critical care areas and Memorial physicians.

Interim chief medical officer Dr. Thomas Macaluso said Memorial received 19,500 doses that will be administered to medical staff, nursing staff and clinicians and workers at risk from contracting or spreading COVID-19 to a patient.

“This vaccine has been shown to be 94% effective. Pretty much everybody except someone who’s had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine is eligible to get it,” Macaluso said. “It’s been studied in over 30,000 people in phrase three trials. It is safe. There are excepted side effects similar to [those of] other vaccines, but I want to encourage our employees to take advantage of this great opportunity. This vaccine and the other vaccines that come down the pipeline are really going to be the key tool to ending this pandemic.”

At the news conference, Fernandez said the hospital estimated it would use about 7,000 doses, projecting half its employees would receive it. In about 20 days, the hospital will receive a shipment of the second dose of the vaccine. The remaining doses will be distributed to five hospitals: Cleveland Clinic, Broward Health Medical Center, Westside Regional Medical Center, Holy Cross Health and Florida Medical Center. Broward Health started giving employees the vaccine later in the week.

Ultimately, said Dorinda Segovia, vice president of pharmacy services, said that even with the vaccine, masks will still need to be worn for protection against the virus.

“The vaccine will take time to create immunity,” Segovia said. “We also do not know what kind of exposure we have had [to the virus] until the time of [receiving the vaccine]. So masks on at all times. It doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated. That’s the way we’re going to protect our families and our communities.”

This is because, as chief of infectious disease Dr. Paula Eckardt says, the clinical trials “do not give us any information about transmission after vaccination. So the recommendation by the CDC is we should continue wearing masks … until more information comes about and more people get vaccinated.”

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.