‘Please hurry’: Michigan doctor pleads for quicker Covid vaccines after six patient deaths in 12 hours

Kellie Johnson, a respiratory therapist, receives the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
(AP)
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An intensive care doctor has emotionally requested that health care workers be vaccinated as soon as possible after describing his teams grappling with patient deaths at his hospital.
Douglas Allen Arenberg, a lung disease specialist with Michigan Medicine, said Friday that he was being forced to retire to a hospital stairwell during one of his shifts, Newsweek reported.
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"I haven't got my Covid shot yet. So I'm posting this picture of the stairwell where I retired in less than 12 hours yesterday after my 6th death," the doctor tweeted.
"I just needed a place where I could gather and try to bring my team of residents, nurses, RTs & Pulm / Critical Care colleagues ..." he added.
The Ann Arbor-based doctor urged Michigan Medicine to "hurry up and have the ICU staff, residents and visitors vaccinated".
The first people in the US received the Pfizer Covid candidate last week after the sting was finally approved for an emergency by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be prioritized for the shot initially, but the number of vaccinations in the first rounds of the federal distribution is limited.
"I can't think of anything more demoralizing than seeing all of these photos of our colleagues being vaccinated while we wait," said Dr. Arenberg. "The stairwells get pretty full."
Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan's academic medical center, said in a statement Monday that it had received an initial shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
The medical center said it expects to "vaccinate around 40 employees starting Tuesday and increase the volume as early as next week, depending on what's available."
The statement said that because the center has approximately 28,000 staff and limited primary care, it will "coordinate a gradual approach of priority groups" based on state and federal guidelines.
Marshal S. Runge, CEO of Michigan Medicine, Dean of U-M Medical School and Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs at the University of Michigan, said, "It will be some time before everyone who wants a vaccine is reached."
"As the spread continues, it is important for all of us to keep social distance and wear masks when we go out in public."
Nationwide, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has attacked President Donald Trump's administration for slow advancement of the vaccine in Michigan after reports of reduced shipments on Friday.
Michigan originally expected 84,825 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in its second round, but will now receive a reduced 60,000 doses.
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