coronavirus vaccine

Chicago-Area Frontline Workers Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine

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Following final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, several Chicago-area frontline workers are preparing to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in just a matter of days.

"I think there is an element of excitement," said Meeta Shah, an emergency physician at Rush University Medical Center. "I think it's a combination of feelings. It's like a little bit of hopefulness, a little bit of excitement."

Rush is anticipating the arrival of up to 2,000 doses of the vaccine, and even transformed a portion of its Chicago hospital into a mass vaccination area.

Frontline workers at the hospital received an email Friday about when they'll receive their first and second shots.

"It's kind of this surreal optimism, you know after months of feeling down and a sense of despair," Shah said. "This is kind of like that sliver of hope."

Illinois will receive approximately 108,000 doses of the vaccine in its first shipment, which is enough for approximately 54,000 people. The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots given three weeks apart.

"We still need to be mindful that while people are getting vaccinated that we still should be masking up and social distancing when we can," said Carol Williams, an intensive care unit nurse at Rush Copley Medical Center.

Last month, Williams wrote a Facebook post, which went viral, about her unfiltered experience of being a nurse in a COVID ICU.

"I have a glimmer of hope, so do a lot of my coworkers that as this process proceeds that hopefully we're going to have this under control," Williams said.

Even though Williams is excited for the rollout, she knows there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.

"I just hope that people continue to do the right thing for everybody," she said.

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