Some health care workers hesitant to get COVID-19 vaccine during initial distribution

San Antonio hospitals began administering COVID-19 vaccines to staff on Tuesday

Some health care worker hesitant to get COVID-19 vaccine during initial distribution

SAN ANTONIO – COVID-19 vaccine distribution is underway in many parts of the U.S., and while some frontline health care workers have already gotten their shot, others are choosing to wait.

A San Antonio nurse who worked in the frontlines in New York, Houston, El Paso and San Antonio is choosing to wait to get vaccinated.

“I’m not saying that I’m against it, but I just I’m kind of holding off so I can see what the outcomes are,” said Shirley SaintLouis.

“You have some nurses and some health care professionals that just feel like this vaccine was expedited way too fast, and we just don’t know too much about it,” she said.

However, not everyone feels this way. Dr. Kenneth Kemp, who joined KSAT for a livestream centered around the COVID-19 vaccine last week, said the technology to develop a messenger RNA-type treatment like the one this vaccine uses has already been investigated for more than a decade.

Researchers also had a head start since this virus is very similar to other coronavirus outbreaks we’ve seen in the past, such as MERS and SARS.

“As soon as it broke out in China and experts from China began to isolate the S protein or spike protein of the new coronavirus, researchers across the world sprung into action, and so, yes, it happened quickly, but it also happened in a way that builds upon previous studies,” Kemp said.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Ruth Berggren received her vaccine on Tuesday.

“I am proud that I get to be one of the first people. I am feeling very privileged and honored, and I hope that everybody sees that I’m smiling. I barely felt the needle. It was no different than getting a flu shot at all,” Berggren said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that the potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. Berggren agrees.

“I have reviewed the safety data, and we’re just seeing, you know, mild vaccine reactions, a little headache, a little sore arm after the second injection, maybe some fever, maybe a little worse achiness after the second injection,” Berggren said.

Even though the Pfizer vaccine received emergency approval already, it doesn’t mean the clinical trials are over. Participants will be followed for two years to track any side effects.

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.