First COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Muscatine County

Dr. Prasad Nadkarni receiving the first COVID-19 vaccine in Muscatine County Dec. 23 at UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital.

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Dec. 23, Dr. Prasad Nadkarni, a surgeon at UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital, received the first dose of the first COVID-19 vaccine administered in Muscatine County. “I’m extremely excited the vaccine is finally here,” he said gleefully: “I compare this to turning lights on. Every time one gets vaccinated one light in Muscatine gets turned on.” His analogy seemed apt. As a dark year draws to a close and the days begin growing longer again after the longest night of the year, Muscatine county welcomed the hope of vaccines and the eventual end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadkarni volunteered to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine in the county because of his enthusiasm for this new preventative measure. UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital Chief Human Resources Officer Angie Johnson shared: “Dr. Prasad Nadkarni has been super excited to receive the vaccine. He’s well educated on the information and a huge fan of the outcome.”

After receiving the vaccine, Nadkarni reported no negative side effects other than mild injection site soreness. “It feels like a flu shot,” he noted. Since COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the Quad Cities region, no recipients have reported concerning negative side effects.

According to Johnson, last week Muscatine County received 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 300 went to Trinity Muscatine Public Health to give to healthcare workers across the county while 200 went to UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital, where those who work directly with COVID-19 positive patients will receive them first.

Johnson anticipates another shipment of vaccines will arrive in the county within the week and that public health and the hospital will continue to administer them to frontline workers until everyone who wants one receives them. Across the UnityPoint network, approximately 90% of healthcare workers indicated they would take the vaccine when available.

As vaccination begins in Muscatine County, both Nadkarni and Johnson advised people to continue to follow COVID-19 mitigation protocols, even after they received both doses of the vaccine, as research has not yet determined if vaccinated people who come in contact with an infected person can asymptomatically spread the virus to unvaccinated people. Johnson elaborated, “As Dr. Nadkarni said, continue wearing your mask and keep social distancing to keep the surge down and not relive a couple weeks ago–that was a very trying time.”