Across the country this week, millions of healthcare workers will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, signaling a light at the end of an excruciatingly difficult year, especially for those battling the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.
Dr. Gita Pensa, an associate professor at the Brown University Emergency Medicine Residency and emergency physician in Rhode Island, was among those who received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday.
“I am incredibly hopeful. I’m grateful,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I’m not relieved yet, but sometimes just knowing that relief can be coming is enough to give you a second wind.”
The past nine months have taken a toll on Pensa and her colleagues. With the number of cases and hospitalizations in Rhode Island reaching critical levels in recent weeks, Pensa said she has been running short on hope.
“Yes, I am a frontline healthcare worker, but I’m also a mother who’s worried about her kids. I’m a wife who’s worried about her husband. I’m a daughter who misses her parents. I’m a sister who misses her brother,” she said. “We miss all those things that used to be what would keep us afloat in bad times.”
The vaccine, she said, “is very well timed for a lot of us who’ve been feeling increasingly despairing about what’s happening in the United States.”