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East Alabama healthcare workers share experiences of COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Dec. 28, 2020 at 6:00 PM EST
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PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - Healthcare workers across Alabama have already received their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

As they’re awaiting their second dose, they’re sharing their experiences and what the public should expect once the vaccine is widely available.

It has been an exhausting nine months for emergency room nurse Savannah Coston, who’s been caring for patients at the East Alabama Medical Center throughout the pandemic.

“I think we’re all kind of getting to a point where we’re tired, she said. “We’re ready for a break in this.”

Coston is one of hundreds of East Alabama healthcare workers to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in the past two weeks.

“I feel a little more hopeful,” she said.

Dr. Ritu Chandra of Preferred Medical Group is another healthcare worker who’s been vaccinated.

“I was so enthusiastic to get it as soon as possible,” she said.

As the U.S. slowly moves closer to being able to administer the vaccine to the general public, Coston and Chandra are weighing in on their experiences.

“On day two, my arm did feel a little bit sore, but that was pretty much the extent of it,” Chandra said. “I didn’t have any fever, no headache, no fatigue, no malaise, nothing.”

Coston, too, had few symptoms.

“My arm was very sore, but that kind of went away, within three days,” Coston said. “I want to say on the third day, I just felt really tired, but that’s really it.”

Chandra was particularly enthusiastic about the vaccine and her experience getting it, hoping she can calm some fears among the public.

“Embrace the vaccine,” said Chandra. “It’s safe, it’s effective. “It’s the only way we’re going to defeat COVID.”

When it comes to the potential for long-term side effects, Coston said, to her, the risks are worth it.

”I think I have more concern about the long-term effects of the coronavirus, more so than the long-term effects of the vaccine,” she said.

Chandra said it’s important everyone who can get the vaccine does.

“If 70 percent of the population gets immunized, that gives us enough herd immunity to pretty much eliminate COVID from our communities,” she said.

As more people receive that vaccine, EAMC is seeing record-high hospitalizations again. According to officials, there were 66 people hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Monday.

Hospital leaders shared a video answering questions and debunking myths of the vaccine.

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