"This is something I could only have dreamed would be possible 9 months ago."

By Claire Gillespie
December 29, 2020
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As the first COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country, health care workers have rolled up their sleeves—and promptly snapped a selfie. Who can blame them? It's a momentous occasion—the biggest vaccine rollout in history, with a goal of giving 50 million US residents the shot by the end of January.

Here are some of the nurses, doctors, med students and volunteers who've shared their vaccination experiences on social media.

Kenzie, an ER nurse based in Austin, Minnesota, shared a smiling photo of herself 24 hours after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. "I feel great, minus a mild sore arm," she wrote in the caption. "Excited for what the future holds!"

Another nurse, Carolyn, who works in the ICU, revealed on Instagram that the COVID-19 vaccine was her "Christmas wish."

"I feel so fortunate to be among the first in the country to get the Covid vaccine," she wrote. "This is something I could only have dreamed would be possible 9 months ago." Carolyn revealed that the day after receiving the vaccine, she "had a sore arm and felt more tired than normal." But by the following day, she felt "completely normal."

Kathryn, an ER nurse in Brooklyn, New York, said she had a lot on her mind when she got the vaccine. "I thought about my loved ones, my coworkers, my patients and myself," she wrote on Instagram. "I thought about the things I saw working in an ER during a global pandemic. I thought about my coworkers: some who were high risk, some who were pregnant and how we worked together to protect each other as best we could. I thought about the patients who came to us for help: young and old, terrified and alone, struggling to breathe, asking questions that we didn't necessarily know how to answer. I thought about the patients who died alone. I thought about the [healthcare] workers who died trying to save others. I thought about the friends and family of those who died and how dark this holiday season must be for them."

Kathryn also revealed how grateful she is: for science, for her health, for the health of her loved ones and coworkers, and for her choice of career "that allows me to help others and make a difference."

Mika, a 4th year dental student and pediatric emergency nurse, wrote on Instagram that when she got the notification from work to get vaccinated, she thought she was being called to a patient in VFib (ventricular fibrillation, the most serious cardiac rhythm disturbance) and "felt a surge of so many emotions."

"Caring for COVID patients and their families in the ED has been heartbreaking, and finally a time has come bringing about a GLIMMER of hope," Mika shared. She also provided a timely reminder that although the vaccination process has started, we should still follow the COVID-19 safety recommendations. "Let us not forget the precautions we must take even after the vaccines are administered," Mika wrote. "Please take care and be safe."

"Feeling so grateful to have received my Fauci Ouchie this am!" wrote Twitter user @carekirbyMD, a general pediatrics academic fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). "We are close! Thank you to science, all my colleagues, the staff/nurses working the vaccination clinic, and to everyone who is continuing to wear masks to keep us safe!"

Wellesley College student Gayathri Krishna shared a photo of herself getting the vaccine as a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer. "There are brighter days ahead and I am so. Incredibly. Excited," she wrote on Instagram. "This is how a pandemic ends."

Psychologist Talee Vang, PsyD, from Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tweeted, "Mental health is as important as physical health. Throughout the pandemic I have continued seeing patients at bedside. So glad today I got my #covidvaccine2020. #mybestshot at keeping my patients, my family, and myself safe! Psychologists on the front lines!"

Dermatology resident Mandy, who has been working shifts in the ICU during the pandemic, shared her vaccination card on Instagram after receiving the Moderna vaccine, along with a glimpse into her COVID-19 has affected her personally.

"One month ago, my entire family came down with COVID-19," she wrote. "Every shift I worked in the ICU, I thought of them. Every patient I took care of, every family member I would update, every virtual visit set up, I saw my family. Each day I wondered would I find out that someone had to be intubated? Would someone get COVID myocarditis? Would they have long-term damage requiring lifelong oxygen? Or worse, would I lose one or more of them?"

Mandy also revealed that she lost her grandfather to COVID-19 a week before she got the Moderna vaccine. "He died alone in a hospital bed, surrounded by people in yellow suits, masks, and face shields, unable to have visitors stay with him, like my patient's (sic)," she wrote. "This year, I have seen more suffering and death then I could have ever anticipated, but today I have hope."

After getting her first dose of the vaccine, Mandy said she was "feeling great," adding that she hoped "that when the time comes, all those who can will get vaccinated as well." She ended her post with a plea: "In the meantime, please wear a mask in public and maintain social distancing. We cannot allow this to be our new normal, so let's each do our part to end this."

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