First doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered at Christus Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana

First vaccines administered in SWLA

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s a history-making day across the country, with the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine being delivered and administered.

“I’m excited. I’m thankful I haven’t gotten it this year. So, hopefully, this will keep me healthy to protect my patients,” said Registered Nurse Madison Jones.

Monday, healthcare workers at Christus Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital welcomed one of the first shipments of the COVID-19 Vaccine.

“I don’t really feel like I belong in a history book,” Jones said. “But it’s definitely a benefit to be an RN and be able to get it.”

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tim Haman says so far upwards of 70 physicians have signed on to receive the vaccine which they will administer over the next 48 hours.

“We’re reaching out to our associates right now trying to get everybody in. We’ve had a great response from our medical staff, in terms of physicians wanting to get immunized,” said Haman.

As for what to expect...

“Most of the side effects that were reported in the trial period are common...tenderness of the injection site, a little fatigue and low-grade fever but all resolves in a day or so,” Haman said.

“This was honestly...I didn’t feel a thing which was odd,” Jones said.

State-wide The Louisiana Department of Health expects 125,000 frontline healthcare workers will need to be vaccinated, each of which would require two doses of the Pfizer vaccine given exactly 21 days apart.

“I’m hoping that we can get a couple hundred done this week,” Haman said.

But even with a vaccine, there are some unknowns including if the vaccine prevents someone from spreading the virus... so for now... the recommendation for those who get a vaccine is to continue to wear a mask.

“This is step one...we have a long way to go but we’re on the right track,” said Haman.

Marking what many hope is the beginning -- of the end -- of the pandemic in Southwest Louisiana.

“Tomorrow, I will feel a little better. Not being worried about getting it,” Jones said.

I look forward to over the next few days getting more staff immunized and hopefully soon getting it out into the community,” Haman said.

The vaccine is offered to health workers; focusing on those at greater risk of exposure first. Receiving the vaccine is not mandatory. Similar to many vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine will be given in two doses: an initial injection and then a booster shot, normally 21-28 days later (depending on the vaccine administered). Research from the pharmaceutical company and CHRISTUS Health’s COVID-19 Task Force indicates minor side effects similar to the flu shot, such as low-grade fever and redness or slight pain at the injection site are possible.

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