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Wendy Anderson was first to receive the Pfizer vaccine at 6:10 a.m. on Tuesday, as part of the front-line medical workers’ fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was pretty excited to get the vaccine,” the Cambridge Medical Center emergency medical technician said, expressing how she felt about being the first to receive the vaccine. “I was excited. I’ve been waiting for it. And I was excited to get it. So far, I have avoided getting the COVID-19.”
When asked about her experience after having received the vaccine, Anderson said: “Oh, it was just fine. There was no trouble whatsoever. … It was less painful than the flu shot.”
Tim Burke, an external communications adviser at Allina Health, said that 200 doses of Pfizer vaccines arrived at the Cambridge Medical Center on Monday. The initial allotment of vaccine is for front-line medical workers at the hospital, he said.
On Tuesday, about 52 medical workers were vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Cambridge Medical Center before noon. More were vaccinated on that day and continued to be vaccinated on Wednesday, Burke said.
“The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine where the second dose is given 21 days after the initial dose,” he said.
The Pfizer vaccines are stored at ultra-cold temperatures — minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit — and they can be moved to refrigerator temperatures and stay good for up to five days, Burke said.
Anderson has been working at the Cambridge Medical Center for nearly 29 years. She works alongside nurses, caring for patients, drawing patients’ blood and more. Her work hours have increased during the pandemic, but she feels grateful and lucky for not having contracted COVID-19, she said.
“We just wear proper (personal protective equipment) … and all the proper equipment that we need,” Anderson said about the safety measures health care workers are following during the pandemic.
As a health care worker, Anderson said it is her responsibility to “get the vaccine if it’s offered to prevent the spreading of the virus.”
Anderson said people should consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to the general public.
“I would just encourage anyone, if and when they get the chance to get the vaccine, (then) I would encourage them to get it,” Anderson said. “If there’s anything we can do to stop this or stop the spread, … this is going to be it.”
After Anderson was administered the Pfizer vaccine, she received a COVID-19 Vaccination Record card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said. In the past, when people were immunized they didn’t receive an immunization card such as for being vaccinated for COVID-19, she said.
“It’s almost like a record that you need to keep,” she said. “It’s like an immunization record card. ... Please keep this record card, which includes medical information about the vaccines you ever received.
“You also receive a slip of paper that has the date that you received your first dose,” Anderson continued. “And then it tells you your second dose is due 21 days from the initial. It gives you a date that you should schedule your next one.”