Optimism is growing among healthcare workers that the COVID-19 vaccine will help turn the tide on the pandemic.
NBC 15 News spoke to doctors who are now experiencing what it’s like to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
Dr. Daren Scroggie, Chief Medical Informatics Officer with Infirmary Health, views the vaccine as a light at the end of the tunnel.
“If we can get through this holiday season and get enough people vaccinated, we’re really on the cusp of turning the tide on this whole pandemic,” said Dr. Scroggie.
Dr. Scroggie got the first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was shipped to Thomas Hospital in Fairhope and is now being stored in special freezers.
“Compared to the flu shot, it was the same or less intense in terms of the injection itself. The longest part is waiting the 15 minutes after you have the shot to make sure you don’t have any reactions,” Dr. Scroggie said.
Dr. Scroggie said other than some soreness in his arm, the process has been painless.
However, the vaccine has been the center of both optimism and concern.
State health officials said false rumors were spread that claim severe allergic reactions and even a death have been reported among vaccinated healthcare workers.
“Once it’s in your body, it does what it does and it’s gone. So there’s not anything in there,” said Dr. Scroggie. “There’s no microchip or lasting effect from it. I would ask people to trust in the fact that this is technology and science that’s well understood.”
At Providence Hospital in Mobile, healthcare staff members aren’t required to take the vaccine, but officials say most are jumping at the chance.
“We don’t want to lose anybody else. We don’t want to see families impacted. I think today is our first strike back,” said Todd Kennedy, President of Providence Hospital. “I hope we end up acting as an example and a light to the community to show this is safe and this is OK.”
Dr. Scroggie said the more people take the vaccine, the quicker the pandemic will be over.
“Once we get enough people to take it, that’s when we really start to see the transmission rates slow down and hospitalizations go down. That’s when life is going to start to return to normal,” Dr. Scroggie said.
Healthcare officials still encourage people to wear masks and social distance because it could be summer before the vaccine is available to everyone.