One year after first dose, doctors reflect on COVID vaccine

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – On Dec. 14th, 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. Now, a year later, more than 450 million shots have been given out.

Sandra Lindsay, a nurse for Northwell Health on Long Island, was the recipient of the first dose.

New York was ravaged by the virus this time last year. North Carolina hospitals like Vidant Medical Center were just as overwhelmed.

Dr. Niti Armistead, Vidant Health chief medical officer, was on the front line and said the vaccine gave them a glimmer of hope.

One might remember the emergency use authorization the Food and Drug Administration gave for the Pfizer-Biotech COVID-19 vaccine last December.

A week after that, the FDA approved authorization for Moderna, followed by Johnson & Johnson in February.

It usually takes a long time for vaccines to be made widely available, but Dr. Ryan Gallaher, Vidant Health infectious disease specialist, says advanced mRNA technology sped up the process.

Vaccine hesitancy has kept thousands from getting the shot.

According to Vidant Health, 99% of its staff had at least one shot as of December 1st. 21 employees did not reach the deadline and lost their jobs.

With America’s economy on the rebound and more than 200 million people fully vaccinated, Dr. Paul Cook, East Carolina University’s chief of infectious diseases, believes the pandemic will end eventually.

Tuesday marked another medical milestone.

Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 pill is 89% effective at preventing high-risk people from being hospitalized or dying from the virus.

Cook says that is good, but it’s still most likely not as effective as getting a vaccine shot.

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