There was an air of excitement as Southern Illinois Healthcare began administering its first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for frontline employees Thursday morning.
With healthcare workers at the top of list to exposure to the virus, SIH Infectious Disease Physician Sarah Altamimi said she is excited to get the vaccine.
“I was not hesitant at all to get the vaccine; I did not rethink it for a moment. I was just ready to get it,” Altamimi said.
The vaccine arrived Wednesday afternoon, and has two doses that must be given 21 days apart. Recipients of the vaccine waited for 15 minutes after injection to monitor for side effects.
“We all need to work together to stop this pandemic. It’s going to take all of us, and receiving the vaccine is the first step we can take for the beginning of the end,” said Altamimi.
Rosslind Rice, SIH communications coordinator, witnessed the vaccine being administered to Dr. Altamimi.
“It’s humbling to get to be a part of living history and to see my colleagues on the frontline of the COVID fight celebrate this day,” Rice said.
Carterville Mayor Brad Robinson, who is also the EMS System Coordinator at SIH Memorial Hospital, received the vaccine and says he’s looking forward to getting to the end of the pandemic.
“The vaccine was quick, easy; it’s an absolute necessity. I encourage everyone to do it,” Robinson said.
The doses given to SIH workers were part of the first 109,000 vials of the vaccine the State of Illinois received from the federal government.
The COVID-19 virus has caused more than 308,000 American deaths and nearly 1,640,000 deaths worldwide during the past 12 months.