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Vaccinations provide moments of hope, relief to healthcare workers

Across the country, there were tears of joy as first vaccine shipments arrived in hospitals that have fought the virus for months

FORT WORTH, Texas — 2020 brought tears.

It brought grief over lost loved ones and worry over lives and livelihoods.

This week’s tears, though, were for hope. Shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at hospitals across the country and healthcare workers lined up to be vaccinated.

Video from Oklahoma University Health in Tulsa shows Brian Warkentine weeping as he received his vaccine.

“I’m OK. It’s just emotional,” Warkentine said. “People don’t know what this is like.”

New York ICU nurse Sandra Lindsay was the state’s first vaccination after treating the hotspot’s sickest patients for months.

“I saw a lot of pain, hurt, suffering, death,” Lindsay said after the shot. “So I felt a huge sense of relief after I got the vaccine.”

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New York’s second shot went to Dr. Yves Duroseau whose uncle died of coronavirus in May.

“It is a very important day today, a very hopeful day,” Duroseau said.

At University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital, Tomie Ann Boackle, the associate chief pharmacy officer, broke down described what it meant for the doses of hope to arrive.

“To know what this virus has done for our patients and how many people have been affected by it, this could be the next step in ending this pandemic,” Boackle said.

Kevin Londrigan, a respiratory therapist in Fort Collins, Colorado, was the state’s first vaccination.

“I feel safer about coming home to my family at night after having this vaccine,” he said. “I feel it’s the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Texas’s hardest-hit hospitals in El Paso finally got a moment of relief as shipments arrived.

North Texas’s first was Teresa Mata, a 51-year-old mother of four who cleans the Dallas Methodist ICU.

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“I want to protect my family, and I want to protect myself,” Mata said.

Chad Bush was just behind her in line Monday.

“You’re always wondering, ‘Is today the day I’m going to get COVID?” he said. “I also take care of my elderly mother who lives with me and she has COPD and that’s been my biggest fear the entire time.”

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The grief isn’t over. The loss will continue. But for the first time in months, there was a new reason to hope for a win.

“What are you feeling?” a Virginia reporter asked a tearful healthcare worker at Winchester Medical Center.

“Just hope for the world,” the woman answered. “This is like a light at the end of the tunnel.”