Race for the Vaccine: New York's first shot recipients provide health update

Coronavirus Update for New York

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Friday, December 18, 2020
NY's first COVID vaccine recipients provide health update
Eyewitness News checked in with some of the first recipients of the COVID vaccine in New York to see how they are feeling and if there were any side effects.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The first coronavirus vaccine shots were administered last week and Eyewitness News checked in with some of the first recipients in New York.

Dr. Erik Blutinger has created 80 video diaries during these past 10 months.

The attending physician in the Emergency Department, often describing his job as a "Jack in the Box."

But finally, in his most recent video diary on Wednesday, he says "I feel like the clouds have lifted."

Dr. Blutinger documented his COVID vaccine, so did Dr. Ugo Ezenkwele, the Chief of Emergency Medicine at the hospital, who received his first shot on Tuesday.

Neither of them report any significant side effects.

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"I did not have a fever, I did not require a sick day," Blutinger said.

"Maybe some aches and pains, but nothing more than you should expect from getting the injection into your arm," Ezenkwele said.

It's a shot of morale at a time when Dr. Ezenkwele says even among his own frontline staff, at least 40% have been hesitant to get the vaccine.

"I have one of my nurse managers who was adamant about not getting it, she actually got it yesterday -- I was quite surprised," Ezenkwele said.

It's a battle they think they can win through transparency, but also with science as their weapon.

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"We know that the science has been happening since way before January, when the genetic sequence came out," Ezenkwele said.

Even though the vaccine mission is called "warp speed," the viciousness of this pandemic has given researchers the data that normally takes much longer.

"I had a flashback to being in the emergency room back in March," Blutinger said.

There were many patients they could not heal, but now there is hope on the horizon.


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