Vax Redux

December 17, 2020

On Tuesday morning, an announcement was sent to all patient facing providers (physicians including residents, nurses, etc) at our health care system:

The crux of said announcement was: WE HAVE VACCINE. PLEASE COME AND GET IT!

Josh went last night:

they offered pictures for everyone to share but I kept the pharmacist anonymous
in case she isn’t ready for blog fame.

I initially had thought the roll out would be more gradual – get the ICU staff done first, etc. However, apparently the supply of Pfizer that our health care system got was abundant and they developed a mechanism for high-throughput administration (something like 50 vaccination stations going 12 hours/day in one central facility!). There is sharing with neighboring health systems going on as well.

I signed up and will be getting mine on Friday. TOMORROW! Josh received his last night as shown above and reports that his arm is sore but otherwise all is well.

I feel compelled to mention my prior post on this topic which led to a bit of a firestorm. I still do not feel it was wrong to write about my unfinished thoughts at the time, but I hope everyone who continues to read here will be able to move past that. I will for the record state that since that post I have read the NEJM Phase 2/3 trial, listened to a helpful podcast featuring Dr. Paul Offit, spoken with collleagues, and done some reflection about what is right for humanity. Once I did those things, there was zero doubt in my heart when I went to sign up for my slot.

Onward and upward! To those waiting in various priority levels, I really hope the widespread rollout goes as quickly as possible. I am encouraged by the efficiency at which they have been able to get doses into health care workers and hopefully this model will translate to the community.

And yes, we will still be masking and distancing and taking all of the precautions we have been for the foreseeable future (until COVID-19 hopefully becomes some sort of memory. SOMEDAY!).


  • Reply Amanda K December 17, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Thanks for sharing! This gives me a lot of hope! Honestly when I read your initial post, I felt a little deflated. The vaccine is what we’ve been told to hold out for, what will end this pandemic. That hope is what’s getting me through a few (six? Nine?) more months of social distancing and masking (and virtual learning!!). So when I read that you were undecided I felt nervous like if this isn’t the answer what is?!?! You are 100% entitled to think through your decisions and I love that you share your thought process here. My reaction was about me and the hope that I had placed in the vaccine!

  • Reply CBS December 17, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Wow! Very jealous!

  • Reply Alexis December 17, 2020 at 6:29 am

    Gotta admit that pic brought tears to my eyes. Vaccine!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Anne December 17, 2020 at 6:40 am

    This is so exciting! And I hear you. I have also spent a lot of time thinking about when I would feel comfortable getting the vaccine, and as time has gone by and we see more and more healthcare workers being inoculated, I have landed on…anytime! I am very far down the list, but I am excited for that day to arrive, whenever it happens.

  • Reply Gillian December 17, 2020 at 6:41 am

    So exciting! My hospital is going the gradual route. I am told I will get an email when they have a dose for me and to expect it in late January. Still not too bad.

  • Reply Irene December 17, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Thanks for this follow up Sarah. I am heartened to hear roll out is happening quickly- I have a high risk family member seeing patients regularly and am praying she gets vaccinated SOON. I hope this gives you and your husband some peace of mind too.

  • Reply gwinne December 17, 2020 at 7:52 am

    I will admit I cried actual tears when I saw footage of trucks loaded up with the vaccine leaving the facility this weekend. Tiny Boy had a ped visit yesterday, and the ped offered the info she’s getting the vaccine also this week. So AMEN. Small first step. But such a long way to go still, for vaccines for most…

  • Reply Jamie December 17, 2020 at 7:57 am

    Pedi Hospitalist in maine headed in for mine post-call in a blizzard in about half an hour! ❄️ ⛄️ Happy congrats!

  • Reply Sara December 17, 2020 at 8:00 am

    That is wonderful news!! We are likely very far down on the list to receive a vaccine, but we are also fortunate to be able to isolate ourselves at home and within our pod pretty easily (relatively speaking!) And the more other people get vaccinated, the more comfortable I’ll be having our kids return to school in person next year.

  • Reply Amy December 17, 2020 at 8:59 am

    So many people tried to sign up for the vaccine at my hospital system that the website crashed! They assure us that there are plenty of doses for everyone. I’m still having trepidation as I’m breastfeeding my 6 week old…. but I think covid would be worse for him (esp if I got it and couldn’t take care of him)
    My sister got hers yesterday and same-she just has a sore arm!

  • Reply GNC December 17, 2020 at 9:21 am

    I never commented on your previous post exploring options. A few days after the your comments section exploded, WRALin Raleigh, NC reported findings of a survey at Wake Med, in which the hospital employee population broke into thirds when asked if they’d take the vaccine: 1/3 said yes 1/3 said no and 1/3 said they wanted more information. The administrator interviewed was very calm and conveyed zero judgment about the responses, saying more conversation is needed to keep everyone safe.

  • Reply Jara C. December 17, 2020 at 9:31 am

    So exciting!! I’ll be getting mine on Saturday and then helping to administer them over the next six months (or however long I’m needed), and it truly feels like a breath of fresh air.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns December 17, 2020 at 9:41 am

    I’m so glad you guys are getting it so quickly. This is so essential to put this behind us. I am sure most of us are totally envious (but not entitled to it since we aren’t front line workers!). I can’t wait to get mine. I was happy to hear that Fauci thinks general population could get it by Mar or Apr. please let that be the case. I am doing my research since I am a lactating mama but from what I am seeing from MFM and ACOG, I am almost certain I will get it when eligible. Yay science!!

  • Reply A December 17, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Yay yay yay! Our med school went from “students will for sure be included!” to “only after all these other people” (VERY REASONABLE), to “we actually never promised to vaccinate you, and it’s your fault for not being important enough”.

    So out of curiosity-has your residency program thought about what to do when interns arrive with varying states of vaccination status? I can see some schools prioritizing it for their students and others not able to, which creates a weird dichotomy for the new residents!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 17, 2020 at 10:22 am

      I would hope it’s going to be a non issue as availability hopefully widespread by summer? I don’t think our institution mentioned students but we don’t have our own med school (though do have students that rotate).

  • Reply Elisabeth December 17, 2020 at 11:05 am

    That’s great that your health system has so many doses! Unfortunately in Ohio we aren’t quite as lucky so far. I work for a very large hospital system in the Columbus area and am a laboratory scientist in a department that runs COVID specimens daily. We are considered high risk in the lab and will be receiving the vaccine in the first tier of employees, but our hospital only received 1950 doses so far (enough for <1000 people) and we have 35,000 employees with 20,000 of those being frontline. I have signed up to get in line, but not sure when there will be enough doses for all of us. Ohio will have received enough in the state for 300,000+ people (600,000+ doses) by the end of the month, but the state has chosen to first prioritize those in congregate living (nursing homes, assisted living, etc.), both patients and employees, due to the high level of cases and deaths coming from those locations in the Midwest. But at least this is all the very, very beginning of an end of sorts.

  • Reply omdg December 17, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I have to admit, this post made me feel really irritated. We have almost 2000 doses of vaccine at our hospital, yet only 40 employees are going to be vaccinated this week. One CRNA I work with is getting it at a rural hospital she works at tomorrow, yet there still appears to be no plan where I work. I honestly won’t believe it is going to happen here until the needle is literally in my arm. I need to stop looking at social media because it is making me feel increasingly disgruntled.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 17, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      Agh that is so frustrating. I get the irritation. It just happened this way over here. But I’m hoping you will at least be at the front of the line when they start. I don’t know how many doses we got but I think the number must have been pretty high.

      • Reply omdg December 17, 2020 at 2:07 pm

        Yeah, I’m sure that it’s not as disorganized as it seems. Or maybe it is incredibly disorganized, and that is what the problem is, and there is no underlying evil plan. Hah.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm

          If it’s any hope, I was really surprised at how large scale our roll out was (they had previously talked about various tiers and then just said EVERYONE COME PLEASE SIGN UP ASAP instead). I was definitely expecting to wait longer. Maybe you’ll get an announcement soon that they have something similar in the works — or even if not large scale – again I’d think you’d be at right near front of line right behind perhaps elderly people with the same job you have. I really hope you get it soon.

  • Reply katie s. December 17, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    have you come across any info on breastfeeding mothers & the vaccine that you could share? while my sister is non-patient facing staff at a hospital, there is a chance she will still be one of the first in her area to be eligible to receive it. however, she has a 4 month old daughter, who she is and would like to continue to breastfeed, and obviously has some concerns about getting vaccinated while doing so. thanks!

    • Reply KGC December 17, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      I’m sure that Sarah also has some good recommendations, but there are a few people on instagram that have been posting excellent (in my opinion) data re: COVID and some of that includes info regarding pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’ve been following @jessicamalatyrivera, @mamadoctorjones (she’s an OB!), and @doctor.darien (he’s in emergency medicine and his twin is a high risk OB and they just did a dual live/Q&A thing – probably saved on highlights and with good links to data). Within these accounts, they also frequently link out to other accounts with even better knowledge re: pregnancy and breastfeeding and the risks of covid infection vs. vaccination. Hope that helps!

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 17, 2020 at 2:24 pm

        Also Kelly Fradin MD – pediatrician @adviceigivemyfriends on Insta!

      • Reply katie s. December 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm

        thank you & sarah for the recommendations – it’s much appreciated!!

  • Reply Natalie December 17, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    This is such exciting news and so good to hear after such a challenging year. Thank you for posting this and thank you and Josh for taking the vaccine!

  • Reply Meghan December 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Yay! I get so emotional every time I see someone getting a vaccine. It gives me hope that we will someday get back to a new normal. I also appreciated your prior post where you were thinking aloud. My husband is one who has very weird food allergies (his doctors haven’t been able to narrow it down to a single offender), and he has an epi-pen. So he most likely will not be getting at least the Pfizer vaccine. It makes me grateful to think of all the people who are willing and able to.

  • Reply LDMN December 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Two things: #1 – YAY SCIENCE! If you would have told me in March that we’d be in our current situation I would have been SHOCKED at how bad it is. But if you had told me we’d be administering a high-performing vaccine I wouldn’t have believed that either… Today I heard from a good friend to is an intensivist and hospitalist in CA and she was crying because they are having meeting and getting guidance about how to make decisions around scarce resources and as a Dr. it is BREAKING her heart. we have got to get our sh&t together in this country and I’m hopeful about these vaccines (assuming Moderna and others are coming). #2 – On insta, I really love this woman named Laurel Bristow (@kinggutterbaby). She breaks down a lot of the science into lay-person terms and answers questions and it’s been helpful for me to calm any nascent vaccine anxiety (though I’m way down the list!). Highly recommend.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 17, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      Ooh thank you for the rec! Will share with others who might benefit . . .
      Heartbreaking re: CA.

  • Reply Anita December 17, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Sarah, I appreciated your previous post where you said you were considering some things, that was honest and I felt the same way. Because you give it a real thought, and using the podcast you mentioned on this post, I think I’m more likely to get it myself when it becomes available.
    When I have had concerns about the covid vaccine and people call me anti vaxxer I also tell them my kids are fully vaccinated and showing concern is not the same as being anti vaccination.
    Thank you for being honest, Your previous post and this one didn’t have the effect of making me question the safety if the vaccine, quite the opposite. Thank you!

  • Reply Theresa Garton December 17, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Congratulations!! Our tier 1 caregivers are also getting the vaccine here in Oklahoma. Initially my clinic was told we could go, but we are tier 2, so it will probably be next week. I appreciate your honesty in the previous post. Everything in medicine is a risk/benefit analysis. I’ve also enjoyed these videos, if anyone is interested. I’ve been watching them since March, and have found them extremely informative. The person who does them is quadruple boarded in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep. He has over 100 updates now, with very interesting information about the vaccines, Vitamin D supplementation and why it is important, etc. You can sign up for a free account here, or catch them on youtube.

  • Reply Jen December 17, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    I appreciate you having reservations about any new procedure/drug/vaccine and I hope every physician does. That being said, there’s still no question as to whether this vaccine is essential. Curious why you still have to take precaution? Because not enough is known yet?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 18, 2020 at 5:08 am

      I’m not sure what precaution you are talking about? I just needed to learn the facts about it and rather quickly came to the realization it was the essential thing to do.

      • Reply Jen December 18, 2020 at 10:46 pm

        No, I meant precautions in terms of masks/distancing! I will take precautions as well but I wasn’t sure the full reasoning behind it. Is it because you might still be able to spread it?

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 19, 2020 at 7:17 am

          Yes :). Not enough is known about that so recommendation is not to stop masking etc.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 18, 2020 at 6:58 am

      Are you referring to masks/distancing? Because that’s what is recommended to protect others who are not yet vaccinated.

    • Reply Megan December 18, 2020 at 9:37 am

      I only just learned this and thought that I would pass it on. Even after you get the vaccine, you can still infect others with Covid. Because the virus can still enter the body and then be expelled (via breathing, coughing, sneezing, etc) a vaccinated person could potentially walk around with the virus and infect someone else while still not getting sick themself. It kind of blew my mind! So thanks, Sarah, for including that detail.

      • Reply Jen December 18, 2020 at 11:55 pm

        Thank you! I didn’t know this either!

  • Reply Rachel S. December 18, 2020 at 10:29 am

    This is so exciting, Sarah! Seeing photos of medical professionals get the vaccine has seriously boosted my week. Thank you for sharing and wishing you all the best, from a devoted reader in New York!

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