COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Encouraging and uplifting is how Dr. Seth Sullivan describes the first day of COVID -19 vaccinations in the Brazos Valley.
“It’s just been such a year of perseverance and challenge," said Sullivan, the infectious disease specialist at Baylor Scott & White Health - College Station.
Sullivan along with dozens of his colleagues at the hospital were the first to receive the doses of the vaccine Friday.
Baylor Scott & White have been preparing for the vaccination process for weeks.
The hospital began events at 7:30 am, where pharmacists were able to get more than 50 healthcare workers vaccinated in the morning. They were able to perform another round of vaccinations later in the afternoon, bringing the total number of people vaccinated to 100.
“Can you imagine the nurses and doctors who have been taking care of COVID-19 patients for months?" said Jason Jennings, the regional president for Baylor Scott & White - College Station. "They sat down and tried to hold back the tears but they weren't tears of sadness, they were tears of joy.”
Sullivan recalls the process being just like getting a flu shot.
After he and others got their first dosage, they had to wait around for 15 minutes to make sure there were no adverse effects such as an allergic reaction. Fortunately, there were none.
“I feel great. A little soreness in my arm, but that means it is working,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said he was excited and not nervous before getting the vaccine. He is looking forward to getting more vaccine doses in the area to be able to be distributed widely.
"A lot of work to do but we've taken that first step," said Sullivan, who also is the Brazos County Health District's alternative health authority.
Sullivan said he was overwhelmed by the amount of healthcare workers that volunteered to be in the first rounds of vaccines. He hopes it gives reassurance to the community that health experts believe in the vaccine and its safety.
“This is the step forward to widespread vaccinations to herd immunity and to getting back to the life that we all want," Sullivan said. "We can be together and we can socially interact the way that we belong.”
Baylor Scott & White will continue to give out the vaccine to healthcare workers Saturday and next week. Hospital leaders hope to get through the first weeks allotment by Christmas.