By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Jay Knott was proud to be at the front of the line last Thursday as AllianceHealth Midwest administered the first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Dressed in a t-shirt that read “Vaccines Cause Adults,” Knott rolled up his left sleeve and received the first dose of the vaccine from nurse Norma Gillum.
“I’ve been chomping at the bit to get this vaccine,” he said. “I want life to get back to normal as quick as we can.”
Knott works as a registered nurse in the critical care unit and spent about eight months in the COVID unit.
“I’ve seen what it [COVID-19] can do to the human body and in some cases, it is not pretty,” Knott said.
The Midwest City hospital received a shipment of the vaccine last Wednesday and began vaccinating front line staff and physicians on Thursday morning. The hospital administered 70 vaccinations on the first day and 260 total last week in the first phase.
“We were excited to begin vaccinating our staff. This is the first step towards to getting back to normal and fighting the virus,” said Emily Kezbers, director of marketing and planning.
This vaccine requires two doses. Medical staff at the hospital will need to receive a second dose in about three weeks.
Dr. Dipakkumar Patel, an anesthesiologist, said he was relieved to receive the vaccine.
“I’m almost 69 years old so I’m at an age where I really need it,” he said. “And I’m sick of the masks, I’m sick of not going to restaurants and tired of not seeing my family.”
Daryl Walker, a paramedic, was among the first to receive the vaccine last week. He said he had the virus in August and experienced mild symptoms. But he has seen plenty of other people who had much worse.
“I’ve seen some people that have gotten really sick from the virus. And I still remember the first person I saw with it back in March,” he said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 11. Less than 72 hours later, Oklahoma received the first of its 33,000 doses.
The first 7,800 doses arrived Monday morning, Dec. 14, at INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma City, and 9,750 doses arrived at Saint Francis. The first Oklahoman to receive the vaccine was Hannah White, a registered nurse with INTEGRIS Health who has been serving on the front lines of COVID-19 since March.
Oklahoma State Health Department officials said that not everyone will be able to access the vaccine right away. The Oklahoma State Department of Health developed a phased plan in close collaboration with local, state and federal partners at CDC and Operation Warp Speed to ensure priority groups are able to access the vaccine first.