Wednesday, December 23, 2020

“Light at the End of This Tunnel:” Texas Physicians, Health Care Staff Start to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Months into Global Pandemic

For many physicians and all health care workers across the country, approval and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is “light at the end of this tunnel” in what’s been a dark global pandemic. 

Following the FDA’s approval of both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines this month, many medical personnel were able to get vaccinated as early as Dec. 14. Texas Medical Association Immediate Past-President David Fleeger, MD, got his COVID-19 shot just a few days later

“It wasn’t painful, it wasn’t unpleasant,” Dr. Fleeger said. “Glad we can take this step forward to try and deal with the pandemic.”

David Fleeger, MD, throws a thumbs up after 
receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 
Photo by Brent Annear
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available for all frontline health care professionals as well as residents of long-term care facilities. According to state leaders, people over the age of 65 or those ages 16 and older with at least one chronic medical condition will be able to get vaccinated next. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), once large quantities of the vaccine are produced, it will be widely available to the general public.

Immunizations save lives and prevent the spread of disease. As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine, herd immunity, or community immunity, can be achieved. Herd immunity is the concept of increasing everyone’s protection against a disease by vaccinating enough people in a community. It also helps protect people who can’t get vaccinated, either because they’re too young or they have a pre-existing medical condition. Many doctors, like Dr. Fleeger, expressed their hopes for the public to get the COVID-19 shot once they’re able to do so. 

“If we can get enough people to get this, then we can ultimately get to the point where things get back to the new normal,” Dr. Fleeger said.

For him, getting the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t just about protecting himself from the virus

“To me, it’s really a matter of love; a love for my dad who’s 87, love for my neighbor who’s going though chemotherapy, love for the guy at work who’s got heart disease,” Dr. Fleeger said right after getting his first COVID-19 shot. “We need more love in the world, so for me, it seems like the appropriate thing to do.”

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the CDC website. 

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