‘For the first time in a while, I feel hope’: Healthcare workers receive first COVID-19 vaccinations in Washington

SEATTLE, Wash.– The beginning of the end to this COVID-19 pandemic.

Amy Fry, a nurse in Seattle, was the first to receive Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine.

As that shot went in and out of her arm, another feeling rushed through the UW Medicine nurse; a feeling we’ve all been longing for.

“I feel excited, and for the first time in a while, I feel hope,” Fry said.

Some healthcare workers and first responders in Seattle joined Fry in kicking off the state’s vaccine campaign Tuesday morning at the University of Washington Medical Center.

“Oh my goodness sake this feels amazing,” Fetya Omer of UW Medicine said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a very long time, so this feels wonderful.”

UW Medicine plans to vaccinate about 1,000 healthcare workers per day over the next 2-3 weeks.

Many of those people who were vaccinated Tuesday said it was no more painful than a flu shot.

Some people may feel side effects from the vaccine in the 12-24 hours following the shot.

That can be a sore arm, a headache or just feeling tired.

“All of that seems like a tiny cost in the spirit of what this is in terms of moving forward,” another vaccinated healthcare worker said.

Everyone who gets this vaccine will need two doses.

UW Medicine said that second dose will likely come 21 days after the first, but it can be taken as early as day 14.

It’s still not clear how much these vaccines will protect you from catching COVID-19 or spreading it. That’s why healthcare experts believe Tuesday was a sign of hope but not the end of the pandemic.

“Until we get very, very good data around that,  we definitely want everyone to continue to follow the normal interventions we’ve put into place,” Dr. John Lynch of UW Medicine said. “The masking, the distancing and staying home when you’re sick.”

From what we know, nobody in Spokane County has been vaccinated yet as of Tuesday.

We are expecting to hear more about that Wednesday from the Regional Health District.

Some North Idaho providers are hoping to start vaccinating people on Wednesday.

Healthcare workers and people in long-term care facilities are first in line, so most of us are still a few months away from our shot.

READ: Washington state receives its first shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine