Cornerstone Family Healthcare Begins Vaccinating Staff for COVID-19

CORNWALL, N.Y. (December 23, 2020) – Cornerstone Family Healthcare is pleased to announce that it has started administering its first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to its staff on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at the Kaplan Family Pavilion in Newburgh, N.Y.

The first doses of the vaccine were given to Dr. Alban Burke, Chief of Dentistry at Cornerstone Family Healthcare; Noelle Ziemins, Family Nurse Practitioner and Cornerstone’s Chief of Urgent Care; and Enrique Bullon, a Medical Interpreter at Cornerstone.

“To be at this phase, is very exciting. It’s almost a sense of relief,” shard Ziemins. “With all the research that’s been done and the information that’s out there, you can make an informed decision to get the vaccine and feel safe doing so.”

“Everyone is nervous at the beginning of something,” shared Bullon. “It is important to get the vaccine, not only to protect myself, but to protect other people as well.”

“I’m incredibly proud of the entire Cornerstone team,” shared Linda Muller, President and CEO of Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “They have shown tremendous bravery, courage and compassion during these unprecedented times. I’m excited to say that we are one step closer to claiming victory over this pandemic.”

Cornerstone Family Healthcare received a total of 1,800 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in this first phase of distribution. Studies have shown the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID 19 through a two-dose injection, administered three weeks apart. It was authorized by the FDA and approved unanimously by the Clinical Advisory Task Force on December 18, 2020.

Cornerstone has been planning and preparing to receive COVID-19 vaccines for weeks. “I’m thrilled that the vaccine is here and have full confidence in the science behind it,” said Dr. Avi Silber, Chief Medical Officer at Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “We are prepared to do our part to educate and protect our employees, patients and community from the threat of COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to the general public. Based on guidance by the CDC and New York State Department of Health, the first New Yorkers to receive the vaccine will be high-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff), nursing home residents, nursing home staff, followed by all long-term and congregate care residents and staff, EMS workers, other health care workers, coroners and medical examiners.

“It’s important to understand that even though we are in the initial stages of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, we are not in the clear yet,” Dr. Silber continued. “We’re seeing a post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States and anticipate that number will only continue to get higher after the holidays.”

Cornerstone urges the community to continue taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of COVID-19: wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; stay at least 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with; limit gatherings with others who are not in your immediate household; avoid indoor gatherings; and wash your hands often.

Since March 2020, Cornerstone has tested more than 8,000 people and cared for more than 2,000 COVID-positive patients in the community—with a focus on the most vulnerable and at-risk members of our community. Cornerstone will continue to keep its patients and community informed as vaccines become more widely available to the general public, based on the recommendations and guidelines from state and federal public health officials.

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