INDIANAPOLIS — The first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Indianapolis Wednesday morning. It quickly made its way to an IU Health clinic and people waiting to be vaccinated.
A quick shot in the arm cured much of the fear and uncertainty doctors, nurses and other health care workers have lived with for nine months.
"It feels like Christmas," said Luisa Vera, an OBGYN resident. "It feels like the light at the end of a tunnel. Me and my fiancé, we both work in medicine. We've been waiting for this vaccine for months."
During that time, the virus killed more than 7,000 Hoosiers and sickened hundreds of thousands of others.
"I think we all felt the effects of being in a pandemic and its been tough for all of us," said Karen Glaven, a registered nurse.
IU Health wasted no time getting the vaccine off the delivery truck and into the arms of patients. The shipment arrived at 9:50 Wednesday morning. The vaccine was unpacked, warmed, mixed and ready for vaccinations to begin at noon.
ER nurse Joseph Majchrowicz was first in line.
"This is a step going forward," he said. "Hopefully we can get back to where we can gather around and not be afraid to contracting COVID and be done," Majchrowicz said.
IU Health is one of five so-called "Phase 1A" hospitals in the state. They received the vaccine first. Their experience handling the vaccine, setting up clinics and running an unprecedented vaccination effort will help other hospitals opening clinics later this week
Phyllis Watts is a registered nurse, and she hasn't seen her mom in nine months. She jumped at the chance to work at the clinic.
"Next year, Thanksgiving, Christmas is going to be different. People will vaccinate. We'll be able to do what we couldn't do this year," she said.
The first shipment was small just 975 doses. Around 8,000 more are expected Monday. More than vaccine, people say they are getting a shot of hope.