Houston health care workers on getting COVID-19 vaccine, 'it's like Christmas morning'

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Houston nurses say getting vaccine, 'it's like Christmas morning'
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After ten months of battling the virus, Tuesday was a huge relief for Houston frontline workers. Watch their reactions to getting the COVID-19 vaccine in the video above.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Methodist was set to get 5,850 doses of its 13,650 total dose allotment on Tuesday. Once the vaccine arrived, the hospital began vaccinating employees.

"You can feel the sense of excitement in the room as these brave men and women, who have been caring for COVID-19 all year long, have been the first at Houston Methodist to receive the vaccine [Tuesday]. It's even been described as today, as Christmas morning," said Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist.

After ten months of battling the virus, Tuesday was a huge relief for frontline workers.

SEE ALSO: Houston-area hospital workers begin to receive COVID-19 vaccine

"It's been a terrible year for all of us, I would say both on the healthcare side and the non-healthcare side. But I think this is really a turning point for us in this pandemic, so I was very much looking forward to it," said Houston Methodist's Dr. Nestor Esnaola.

"It sure feels like we're turning a page on kind of the nightmare that's been going for this entire year," said frontline worker at Houston Methodist, Vishal Thaker.

WATCH: More vaccines are on the way to Houston this week

Memorial Hermann also received thousands of doses of its vaccine Tuesday morning. The Pfizer vaccine must be handled in a specific way due to its super-cold storage requirement. The vaccines that were set to be administered were put to thaw for 30 minutes, the rest go into an ultra-low freezer.

After practicing for this day, things went well.

"We wanted to get it right, you know, there's so much concern that we use every bit of this vaccine, we use it appropriately, that none of it is wasted, that we meet all of the stringent handling requirements. There was some relief that it all went well and obviously we're thrilled that it all went well," said president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Dr. David Callender.

At Memorial Hermann, vaccinations began with an ICU nurse. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, so once the workers got the vaccine, they were given a card too.

SEE ALSO: Meet ICU nurse who was 1st in Houston to get COVID-19 shot

"This particular card, it's from the CDC, everyone will get it after they've gotten their vaccine. It's just a part of their immunization record, it's a handy small card they can take with them if they want to," said Memorial Hermann's Dr. Annamaria Macalus-Davidson.

SEE ALSO: Vaccination cards will be issued to everyone getting COVID-19 vaccine, health officials say

Memorial Hermann expects more vaccines to arrive in the coming days.

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