east-bay-health-care-workers-delighted-to-receive-first-dose-of-covid-19-vaccine

Nurses and doctors in Concord who care for COVID-19 patients rolled up their sleeves Wednesday to get their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

While their smiles were hidden behind their masks, one could sense the joy and relief among the roughly 200 health care workers at John Muir Health’s Concord Medical Center.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some symptoms, but I think the good far outweighs the bad,” respiratory therapist Joseph Anderson said.

Anderson is the man who shows up when patients need a ventilator. He said he feels it’s his duty to set an example for communities of color that might distrust the vaccine.

“If you look historically, it is a valid concern, but I think right now, and part of the reason I would step up and do it, to show that, you know, we need to get this,” he said.

For nurse Harpal Singh, getting the vaccine means getting a taste of his old life.

“Traveling yes, getting on a plane was my biggest fear, but now at least in a month or so I can just do that,” he said.

For the man who runs the emergency room, the vaccine means fewer sick calls at a time when it’s all hands on deck.

“We fear getting ill and being out from work and not being able to take care of patients,” Dr. Russell Rodriguez said.

A spokesperson for John Muir Health said they’ve added hospital beds to the ICU, as needed.

Rodriguez said, even with this invisible layer of security, the winter COVID-19 surge is far from over.

“We have weeks to months of a lot more hospitalizations, a lot more sick people,” he said. “And so I think, we’ll all continue to be, have our guard up.”

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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