On the first Monday of the new year, frontline workers at Methodist Dallas Medical Center received another sign of hope, their second doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re even more excited than 21 days ago, even more hopeful because these are people getting vaccinated," Dr. Zachary Dreyfuss, an ICU physician with Methodist Health System, said.
More than 700 employees inoculated for the second time on Monday, starting at 7 a.m., exactly three weeks after the hospital was the first in North Texas to receive shipments of the vaccine.
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"The first time, I was super excited and it happened very quickly, I ran over here and got the vaccine, this time I had a lot more time to think about, so I was a little more nervous about potential side effects and stuff, but so far not a problem," Dr. Theresa Patton, an OB-GYN with Methodist Health System, said. "In fact, I would say it's less painful than the flu vaccine."
The two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have to be spaced out over 21 days and the second shot is necessary for maximum protection.
“We know that one is not enough, we know that one shot gets you 50% effectiveness, but you’ll be able to double it to almost 95% effectiveness with a second dose," Dreyfuss said. "I have friends and family who are itching to get the second dose, and that gets me excited."
There are still people who are skeptical of the vaccine, especially those in minority communities, where there's a lack of trust.
Some medical professionals of color said they were trying to convince their own loved ones to get the vaccine.
“Even my own family members, it was a big explanation they didn't understand why I would do this, why I wanted to do this and I just want them to see that we as a population are really dying and suffering," labor and delivery nurse Bettina Johnson said.
Johnson, who is Black, admitted she too was hesitant in the beginning, but after she saw the surge of cases in the hospital and as a health care provider, she wanted to be an example for her family and others.
“I’m grateful that we’ve been able to complete the series, that this opportunity has been given to us. I’m just grateful," Johnson said. "I think it’s very important that the public realize, that one shot is not going to completely protect you from the COVID-19 virus.”
And health care workers who get vaccinated could be the best messengers to their families, friends and communities.
"So far so good, it's a miracle that we actually have a vaccine right now. Our job is to tell the public, tell friends, tell family, 'Hey, I got it, I'm still here, I didn't turn into a zombie so, you should go get it too,'" Justine Duru, a nurse anesthetist with Methodist Health System, said.
Due to Methodist Dallas Medical Center's COVID-19 policies, reporters and photographers were not allowed inside the building, but the hospital provided video and interviews of front line workers getting their second shot.