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The vaccine is here
Emergency Department RN first to receive COVID-19 vaccine at Monroe Clinic
monroe clinic vaccine
Lori Plenge, RN administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Jennifer Chapman, RN on December 22.

MONROE — Jennifer Chapman, an RN in Monroe Clinic’s Emergency Department, was the first frontline caregiver to receive the first dose of the new Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Monroe Clinic. 

Chapman, a nurse with Monroe Clinic for more than 15 years, shared that she was “very excited to be receiving the vaccine.” The moment was made extra special as Chapman received the vaccine from long-time nurse Lori Plenge who gave Chapman her routine shots back when she was a pediatric patient at Monroe Clinic. 

Among the staff who were also receiving and administering the vaccine were feelings of “relief” and anticipation of “the moment that we have been waiting for.” 

The ongoing trials of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine show a 95% efficacy rate in preventing confirmed COVID-19 after a person receives both doses within 21 days, according to information supplied by the Food & Drug Administration, which gave the vaccine emergency approval last week.

Chapman is scheduled to receive her second dose in three weeks and says she will encourage everyone she knows to get the vaccine as soon as it is more widely available. 

Monroe Clinic and SSM Health’s employee vaccination supplies are from an initial statewide allotment from the federal government. Because the COVID-19 vaccines are new and manufacturers cannot immediately produce enough supplies to vaccinate everyone who wants the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health departments recommended a phased approach to vaccinations with health care workers first to receive them, according to Mohammad (Mo) Kharbat, SSM Health Wisconsin VP of Pharmacy Services and Health Research.

“We are collaborating closely with our community partners and public health departments on plans to safely and effectively distribute the vaccine to additional priority groups and eventually the general public,” said Kharbat. “While we do not know how long this first phase will last, we know that the next phase may include other essential workers and patients who are at highest risk for hospitalization or death if they are infected with COVID-19. If vaccine shipments continue to arrive weekly, we anticipate vaccines will be more widely available for the general public sometime in the spring of 2021.”

COVID-19 vaccines in Green County

From Green County Public Health: 

On Dec. 12, 2020 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization to the Pfizer vaccine. On Dec. 18, the Moderna vaccine was also granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. FDA. Shipments of both vaccines have already arrived in Wisconsin. For the most update COVID-19 vaccine information please visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

The COVID-19 vaccine will not be available to the general public until later in 2021. The Green County Public Health Department will communicate to the public any updates on vaccine availability as it happens. We ask that community members do not contact us about getting a COVID-19 vaccine for the time being. Please continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (mask wearing, physical distancing, hand washing, and others) and check our website and Facebook page for any updates. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

As production of the vaccines increases to the point of being widely available to the public, Monroe Clinic and SSM Health will communicate vaccination information to patients and the communities they serve. Monroe Clinic patients interested in receiving notification of COVID-19 vaccine availability are encouraged to sign up for an online MyChart account. Signup is available at

“While we appreciate that people are eager to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, please hold off calling your health care provider or clinic for information,” Kharbat said. “Many people still need medical assistance and we need to keep our phone lines open for patients who are experiencing active symptoms or have acute care needs. Websites for the CDC and local public health departments will be your best sources of ongoing information about the various vaccines.”

To learn more about the vaccine, visit,, or Wisconsin Department of Health Services at

Until and after COVID-19 vaccines are broadly available, the CDC continues to recommend that people take all the necessary precautions to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19: 

●  Stay home when you have symptoms

●  Do not gather with others outside your immediate household. If you must, wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart 

●  Practice good hand hygiene, washing for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing completely

The combination of a vaccine and these prevention measures will help us in our eventual return to normal.