ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Around 450 people have now been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by Phoebe Putney Health System as of Friday afternoon.
Many of them were Phoebe employees who got the shot first Thursday afternoon.
Mandy Hall and Will Runyon were some of the first Phoebe Putney Health System employees to take the highly anticipated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine just hours after it arrived in Albany on Thursday.
“I actually feel great,” Hall said. “I’ve not had any side effects whatsoever. It feels good to know that there’s now some protection whenever I come in contact with patients and also my family members.”
“I feel fine,” Runyon said. “I had just a little bit of soreness in my arm and that’s it. It’s not even as bad as a flu shot.”
Said Hall: “I was concerned that it would be cold and that the shot would be painful but I actually didn’t feel it at all.”
Said Runyon: “I still will wear my mask around my family and out in public just out of precaution but I feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
As director of emergency services, Hall has seen the devastation COVID-19 has caused throughout the ER while Runyon, as Chaplin, has been there with COVID-19 patients as they said their final goodbyes to loved ones.
“I’ve seen people, many people die from COVID and I’ve seen how it affects their bodies,” Runyon said. “It really tears their families apart when somebody dies from this disease. I tell people that having COVID is much worse than what side effects you might have from getting the vaccine.”
Said Hall: “One of the main reasons that I decided to take it first is just because I want people to know that I support it. I really don’t have any concerns now. I think the first 24 hours I was afraid that potentially I may have some side effects, but I’ve not had any. There’s been no fever, no soreness.”
“Just whatever concerns they have about taking the vaccine, the concerns for losing a loved one or family member or your own life should overshadow that because of what I’ve seen personally,” Runyon added.
Both of them told WALB they would do it again and will as they await their second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Until then, these two continue to look COVID-19 in the face and battle through with one more layer of protection.
Mandy and Will were part of people in Tier 1 that got vaccinated on Thursday.
Tier 1 are healthcare workers at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Tiers 2 and 3 opened Friday according to Phoebe leaders.