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Staff at Prisma Health Tuomey receive first-round of COVID-19 vaccinations

There were about 48 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available, with more rounds to come for those who choose in the future.

SUMTER, S.C. — Front-line workers at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital in Sumter were vaccinated for the coronavirus Wednesday.

They had about 48 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available to give with more rounds to come for those who choose to take it.

Hospital leaders say the facility experienced a "huge spike" in patients over the summer with the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) reaching capacity. That number has since tapered off, but has been rising again over the last two weeks.

They're hoping the vaccine will make a difference.

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"This is clearly a great opening in the clouds for us. I just can’t even express for myself or for the staff what this is going to mean, and for the population," Chief Medical Officer Gene Dickerson said. "Let’s hope everybody gets vaccinated. We’ve got to get to about 70 percent at least, maybe 80 percent or this will not be effective.”

This was the first of two shots staff will receive to be vaccinated. The second will be waiting for them in the weeks ahead.