EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — It's been a long and tiring year for medical professionals everywhere. Doctors, nurses, and other health care workers at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Pocono in East Stroudsburg have seen the worst of what the COVID-19 pandemic has done to countless families.
But on this cold December day, there was a glimmer of hope. Front-line workers received the Pfizer vaccine.
"What people see out there, they question, they wonder how real this is. For us ICU nurses that live through this, that are seeing people come in and out, are seeing people go away from us, leave this earth without being able to have their family, this is life-changing. It's going to be life-changing, not just for frontline workers, but for the future of everyone," said ICU nurse Alicia Arosteguy.
This was the very first COVID-19 vaccine clinic for staff, and 110 employees were given the shot.
Elizabeth Wise is the hospital president and has been waiting for this day.
"It's been a long time that we've been in the pandemic, and it's been an honor to care for our community, and we take that very seriously," Wise said.
Health care workers who got the vaccine hope the public sees that the vaccine is safe and will inspire them to get the vaccine when it becomes available.
"Having looked at the conflicting reports, this report and that report, my conclusion as a physician, is that this is the route to go. This is what we need to do in order to break the cycle of what the country has been going through for the past nine to ten months," said Dr. WIlilam Cors, chief medical officer LVH-Pocono.
"The vaccines are safe. They've been around for a long time, in development for years. Obviously, this one is tested for this novel coronavirus, and I strongly encourage people to get it so that we can get to immunity and get back to the life that we had prior to this pandemic," Wise said.
Staff members were asked to hang back for about 15 minutes after getting the vaccine to make sure that they didn't have an allergic reaction.
They also were asked to sign a poster titled "Doing my Part" to commemorate this day.