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Health care workers have mixed emotions about vaccine

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 6:30 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Mercy Ardmore health care workers lined up to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine at 7:30 Thursday morning. But not everyone eligible wants it yet.

The supply of vaccines is limited-Oklahoma received 39,800 doses.

Mercy Ardmore Vice President of Operations Tyler Hillis said the hospital gave first pick to those working directly with COVID patients.

“We have enough to do our frontline coworkers that are actively involved with the COVID patients,” Hillis said. “We’ll be able to do a good amount of our coworkers and physicians that are in the hospital setting.”

Hillis said some staff members declined the vaccine.

“It’s optional here,” Hillis said. “You don’t have to get it. This isn’t going to work if nobody takes it, so we’re strongly encouraging it and hope that everyone who singed up to go this round will do it.”

Ardmore resident Abigail Darner is currently working in Los Angeles as an anesthesia technician.

“There are so many people in my life that would potentially have serious side effects and complications from COVID,” Darner said. “As someone whose working with COVID patients pretty frequently, it’s scary for me to think that I could possibly carry the virus and get them sick.”

Darner received her vaccine at a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday.

“It was the easiest vaccination I’ve ever gotten,” Darner said. “It hurt less than the flu shot.”

Darner knew she wanted the vaccine, but not all of her coworkers felt the same.

“There’s a lot of people who are concerned about the long term side effects,” Darner said. “We just don’t know yet, simply because it was an emergency use authorization.”

Hillis said Mercy Ardmore will keep an eye on recipients.

“Its a really low chance of this happening, but if you do have an adverse reaction we have some nurses that are monitoring,” Hillis said. “There’s a 15 to 30 minute monitoring period.”

Darner said the choice was easy for her.

“We also don’t know the long term side effects of COVID in itself,” Darner said. “There’s people who have had to have lung transplants, and we’re still only nine months into it. So it was worth it to me.”

She’s ready for things to look normal again.

“It’s been really hard for a lot of us these last nine months,” Darner said. “Particularly those of us who work in healthcare, and I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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