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COVID-19 unit registered nurse optimistic about the vaccine

Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 6:29 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) - Many frontline health care workers were administered “a dose of hope” as the Pfizer vaccine made its arrival this week to Kentucky hospitals.

For Dana Hammond, the vaccine’s arrival brought “relief and hope” as she volunteered to work in the COVID unit at Pikeville Medical Center.

“I’ve been a registered nurse for 32 years and have never seen anything like this,” Hammond said. “COVID is like a vice on the lungs. It just squeezes.”

During the last nine months, Hammond says she’s grown very close to the families of patients.

“We Facetime the families and give updates. We know their phone numbers when it comes up on caller ID. We know their voices when we answer the phone. It’s very difficult to see that and have to call a family that there’s been a decline in the patient’s condition,” Hammond said.

It’s part of the reason why she wanted to get the vaccine, hopeful it would bring an end in sight.

“I felt a little sore in the muscle, and it was heavy to pick up. But that was just Wednesday. By yesterday, I didn’t feel any difference in my arm at all,” Hammond said. “It’s no different than a flu shot.”

With the second dose on the way, she’s ready to turn the page to a new chapter.

“When this is all over, we will go back to our units just as we did before. We’re waiting for that day to close the COVID units,” Hammond said.

Pikeville Medical Center administered all 775 doses of the vaccine by Friday to frontline health care workers. Initially, they received 975 from state leaders but shared 200 with King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland. They’re expecting a second shipment of the vaccine next week.

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