Baptist Health Care Front Line Workers Vaccinated Against COVID-19

The first Baptist Health Care (BHC) employees were vaccinated against COVID-19 today with the Moderna vaccine.

Alex Russell, R.N., who works in the surgical intensive nursing unit, was the first nurse to receive the vaccination. Hospitalist John Sullivan, M.D., was the first physician. Both are front line workers at Baptist who are at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus. “I’m relieved,” Dr. Sullivan said about receiving the vaccine.

The BHC vaccine team developed a distribution and administration plan using Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance and protocols. Clinical team members from throughout the organization that included nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other clinicians collaborated to develop a phased approach for distributing the vaccine to its workforce. Employees in direct patient care at Baptist, Gulf Breeze and Jay hospitals working in the highest risk settings for COVID-19 will receive the vaccine first. Employees are strongly encouraged to take the vaccine as it becomes available, but it will not be mandatory.

As additional vaccine allotments become available, Baptist aims to provide the vaccine to all team members who wish to receive it.

“The arrival of this first shipment of vaccine provides our team with hope and encouragement,” said Scott Raynes, executive vice president of BHC and president of Baptist Hospital, Inc. “For nine months now, these dedicated professionals have worked tirelessly in fighting this terrible disease. Today reveals a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel. Still, we know that we must all remain vigilant in all efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, avoiding crowds, socially distancing and washing our hands.”

Baptist expects to receive additional supplies of the Moderna vaccine and its first supply of the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks. Baptist already had a sub-zero freezer in place to store the Pfizer vaccine.

Baptist Health Care is a community-owned, not-for-profit health care organization based in northwest Florida that is committed to helping people throughout life's journey. The organization is a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. A 2003 Malcolm Baldrige recipient, Baptist continuously strives to be a national leader in quality and service. Baptist Health Care includes three hospitals, four medical parks, Andrews Institute for Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine, Footer link to Lakeview Center and a large network of primary care and specialty physicians. With more than 7,300 employees and employed physicians, Baptist Health Care is the second largest non-governmental employer in northwest Florida.

Baptist Health Care ● Baptist Hospital ● Gulf Breeze Hospital ● Jay Hospital ● Lakeview Center ● Baptist Medical Park – Nine Mile ● Baptist Medical Park – Navarre ● Andrews Institute ● Baptist Medical Group ● Cardiology Consultants ● Mayo Clinic Care Network

For more information about this press release or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathy Bowers at 850.791.5254 or