Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Four local medical professionals received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday evening while on camera, and they are eager for more of the community to get vaccinated as well.

Dr. Thomas Huth, vice president of medical affairs at Reid Health received the first shot, along with Drs. Annuradha Bhandari, Jennifer Bales and David Jetmore.

Bhandari led the effort to create a dedicated respiratory clinic within the Reid Health system during the pandemic’s early days. Bales is chief of staff and an emergency room physician, and Jetmore, an ear, nose and throat specialist, is currently serving as Wayne County’s health officer.

Local media were invited to watch the shots being administered at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17.

Whitewater Community Television recorded the action and shared it through the online videoconference program Zoom. Citing space and safety concerns, other media could not attend in person.

WCTV Executive Director Eric Marsh led the program and facilitated questions from local and regional reporters.

All four vaccine recipients waited nearby for 15 minutes of monitoring, which is the standard time to determine whether anyone will have a reaction to the vaccine. None raised any issues.

Huth said he and his colleagues have been monitoring data from the more than 20,000 people who have already received the vaccine, and they are pleased to note there have been remarkably few serious adverse effects.

The four doctors acknowledge there’s some vaccine hesitancy in the Whitewater Valley.

That’s why they’re urging area residents to continue using the tools they have – social distancing, wearing masks and handwashing – while the vaccine is rolled out to frontline health care workers, nursing home staff and residents, EMS and firefighters and others before it becomes available to the public this summer.

They hope that local confidence in the vaccine will increase as residents see more health care workers experiencing only minor side effects such as arm soreness or fatigue for a day, which they describe as common with any vaccine.

Read more of this story and find a photo from the event in the Dec. 23 edition of Western Wayne News.

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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.