Frontline workers at Brigham and Women's Hospital were among the first in Boston to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Shots were administered Wednesday, one day after the hospital received roughly 2,300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr. Catalina Gonzalez Marques received her shot in the arm after working an overnight shift in the emergency department. The attending physician hopes it sends a message to anyone who is fearful of the vaccine.
"I'm Latina, so seeing patients with my last name is very hard," she said. "Many are skeptical about the vaccine, so if I can convince my community to get vaccinated, why not do it?"
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Debelyn Leach, a nurse in the COVID-19 ICU, was on the fence about getting the vaccine at first, but has since changed her mind.
"My personal reason is I don't want to get COVID. I've seen what it does to my patients, and I want to avoid that at any cost," Leach said. "I will do whatever it takes."
Leach and other workers received their shots at the hospital's vaccination clinic, which will be running six days a week. They hope to vaccinate between 500 and 800 people a day, depending on supply.
"We are planning to be able to go full speed and administer as many doses as we get. We will shift and pivot if we don't get as many doses, but we hope they come as quickly as they are able to make them for us," said Sarah Kirchofer, nurse director at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
For Judith Rowell, an urgent care medical assistant, the reason for getting the vaccine hits close to home. She lost her mom to COVID-19 back in April. She wore her mom's ring on a necklace as she became one of the first Brigham and Women's employees to get vaccinated.
"I wanted to do this today for her," Rowell said. "This is the first time I feel some joy and some hope in many, many months."