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First COVID Vaccination
December 17, 2020

St. Luke’s nurse Sonia Iparraguirre, RN, was the first individual to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Luke’s University Health Network Thursday afternoon.

“I am so happy to be part of this momentous step to end the pandemic,” Iparraguirre, of Bethlehem, said. “I want people in our community to know that the vaccine is safe, and that if they want it, they should get it. It protects their health and the health of our community.”

Video available for news media here:  https://vimeo.com/492228852.

Earlier this year, as St. Luke’s University Health Network began preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic, its dedicated health care workers stepped to the forefront. Iparraguirre, who works on Priscilla Payne Hurd Pavilion 8, was literally on the front line as she admitted the first COVID-19 patient at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem.

Iparraguirre was recently honored for her contributions to St. Luke’s pandemic mobilization and her commitment to the health of the community by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Lehigh Valley during its annual gala. Streamed from SteelStacks in Bethlehem on October 8, the theme of the gala was “The Heroes Among Us.”

“Sonia embraced this unknown challenge with true grace and professionalism,” says Rebecca Boyer, BSN, RN, Patient Care Manager, Priscilla Payne Hurd Pavilion 8. “She not only played a vital role in providing quality patient care, she went above and beyond in providing the intangibles that played such a crucial and meaningful role during this uncertain time.”

These intangibles, Boyer explains, included comforting patients on isolation, spending time to listen to patients crying in fear of the effects of COVID-19, and facilitating communication with these patients’ family members.

“Sonia is an outstanding example of St. Luke’s commitment to caring for COVID-19 patients and all those we serve in our community,” says Janice Concilio, St. Luke’s COVID-19 Incident Commander.

More information about St. Luke’s vaccine program here: https://www.slhn.org/blog/2020/network-prepared-to-receive-covid-19-vaccine-this-week.