Over the past two weeks both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines have begun to roll out across the country. Here in and around the City of Newburgh, the vaccine has come to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall and Garnet Health among other health care facilities.
With the vaccine officially here, people are wondering what the process is like, how it made them feel and what others can expect if they decide to get the vaccine when it is available to them.
New Windsor resident Paul Mongelli, who works in the emergency room at Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall, and Newburgh resident Sarah Joy, who works in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Garnet Health, both said that the vaccine was the hope they needed to see as healthcare workers during this time.
Mongelli had COVID-19 himself back in April and explained that he was “pretty sick and still deals with post-COVID issues today.” Between seeing the effects of the virus firsthand and experiencing it himself, there was no room for nerves about receiving the vaccine, in fact he was “extremely excited.”
“I have been doing my homework on the vaccine for a while, so I felt good about it going to get it,” said Mongelli.
One resource for others who wish to learn more about the vaccine is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, which includes education resources and more.
For Mongelli, there was not much difference between this shot and any other he’s received before.
“The shot itself is the same as any other intramuscular shot,” said Mongelli. “My arm had some minor soreness for less than a day. I’m over two days since the initial dose and I have had no side effects at all.”
Joy said that in her opinion it was an even better experience in comparison to her flu shots.
“It didn’t hurt while receiving it and I felt fine after,” said Joy. “I always get the flu vaccine and usually feel discomfort when I get it but not with this vaccine. The next day my arm was slightly sore and a little fatigued today but no other side effects.”
For Joy it was no question either about whether or not she’d get the vaccine.
“I was nervous but excited at the same time,” said Joy. “As an ICU nurse I first hand have and continue to see the devastation COVID-19 can cause. When our hospital said we have the vaccine I was ready to be a part of it.”
Garnet Health has been vaccinating “staff who have bravely worked in high-risk areas, such as our Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Room,” while planning to vaccinate the rest of their employees through the coming days and weeks.
“The availability of COVID-19 vaccine marks an exciting time for our country,” read Garnet Health’s Facebook post. “We’re confident that the vaccine is a safe and effective tool to control the pandemic that has impacted us all for so long.”
The vaccination is two doses, given 21 days apart. Both Mongelli and Joy, among many others, will be going back in early January for their second doses, which will give them a 95 percent effectiveness according to sources.
“I’m hoping that with this vaccine we are making history and creating the change the world so desperately needs right now,” said Joy. “To have protection from this deadly disease is literally life changing. We as nurses are tired and will be forever changed by this disease. This vaccine is giving us the hope we need.”
It’s still uncertain when everyone will have access to the vaccination.
“As happy as I am that hospital workers across the country are being vaccinated, I can’t wait until everyone else gets their chance too,” said Mongelli. “I hope the people doubting it can see our positive outcomes and reconsider getting the vaccine.”