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First person in St. Louis area receives COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Aamina Akhtar rolled up her sleeve Monday afternoon and made history as medical professionals administered the first vaccination

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The chief medical officer at Mercy Hospital South was the first person in the St. Louis area to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Aamina Akhtar rolled up her sleeve Monday afternoon and made history as medical professionals administered the first vaccination. She earned the spot at the front of the line for her work as an infectious disease specialist and chief medical officer at Mercy's location in south St. Louis County.

Fellow health care workers watching from behind a glass wall cheered after the first dose was given.

Mercy planned to give the vaccine to 20 employees Monday at the south location and another 20 at the main hospital. Hospital officials said they expected to get just under 3,000 doses in their first round.

Credit: KSDK

Earlier Monday, Mercy officials shared video of the first shipment arriving at the hospital. The video provided by the hospital shows workers carefully opening a box within a box and quickly putting one package of vaccines into a special low-temperature freezer. Another cartridge was opened, showing purple-capped doses inside.

Mercy plans to give the vaccine first to its highest risk employees, the hospital said in a news release.

Health care workers who are at the front of the vaccine line include those who work directly with coronavirus patients, including doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, housekeeping crews, nutrition services workers and others who come into direct contact with the patients.

Mercy is the first hospital in the St. Louis area and among the first ones in Missouri to receive vaccines.

Shipments of frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech began arriving at hospitals around the country Monday, with health care workers in New York among the first to roll up their sleeves and receive the vaccine Monday morning.

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