OhioHealth workers react to giving and receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–The number of Central Ohio healthcare workers receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine this week is growing. Among the inaugural recipients was OhioHealth’s Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Dr. Simi Bhullar.

Bhullar reflected on the night before as she sat on the Riverside Methodist Hospital stage waiting to be pinched.

“You know I just got off a 13-hour shift where we’re managing a lot of COVID patients, and it’s devastating what this virus can do to that human body,” said Dr. Bhullar.

After a few split seconds, Dr. Bhullar was among the initial pair of OhioHealth staff members to receive their first dose of the vaccine.

“I feel great, I feel great. I’m really excited to have received the vaccine. It’s definitely the day we’ve been waiting for,” Dr. Bhullar smiled.

The brief injection was a welcomed new measure of protection against the virus, for Bhullar.

“As a physician, I am incredibly excited to get this vaccine, to protect myself, my community, my patients, my family. You know all my colleagues are in the same boat,” Dr. Bhullar said.

The occasion was equally monumental for Dr. Joseph Gastaldo because he administered the inaugural vaccine.

“For me, personally, this is super exciting. You know so many people have died and have been sick from this virus, and this vaccine truly is the gamechanger,” said Dr. Gastaldo optimistically.

After Dr. Bhullar, twenty-eight more frontline workers received their first dose of the vaccine.

“I feel so lucky. I feel really great. I just feel blessed that we were given this opportunity to get the vaccine so early,” said Seneca Sheehan, a Recovery Room Nurse.

Kristine Thompson, an Emergency Department nurse said, “It’s been a lot of difficult situations, and a lot of hard conversations and times. It’s nice to have some optimism around this whole thing for once.”

Experts have said the true effects of vaccine won’t be felt for months, that optimism is now spreading.

“This really is, in my opinion, the slow beginning of the end for COVID-19,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

OhioHealth received a little under two-thousand doses. They hope to administer those by the end of next week. Half of them are allocated to Central Ohio workers at Riverside Methodist Hospital, and the other half is reserved for O’Bleness Hospital in Athens.

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