Flight nurse with immunocompromised spouse first to receive Pfizer vaccine at Michigan Medicine

Posted at 7:44 PM, Dec 14, 2020

ANN ARBOR (WXYZ) — "I was actually the first person here at the university to receive the COVID-19 vaccine," said Survival Flight registered nurse Johnnie Peoples outside Michigan Medicine Monday afternoon. "It wasn't painful at all."

Peoples said he's done his research on the vaccine and is confident in its safety.

"I'm grateful even more than being excited just to receive the vaccine," he said. "Just to feel better about staying healthy. Just to be able to go home after work maybe feeling a little more comfortable than I did before. My wife is immunocompromised. My elderly mother is living with us right now."

Peoples was one of five healthcare workers at Michigan Medicine to receive the vaccine Monday afternoon, hours after 1,950 doses of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech vaccine arrived via commercial carrier and placed in new ultra cold freezers that are dedicated to the vaccine to fight COVID-19 that continues to surge throughout the country.

The others who received vaccinations today at Michigan Medicine are a registered nurse in the Emergency Department, a physician in Infectious Diseases, a physician in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and a resident physician in Internal Medicine.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel referred to the much anticipated, slow rollout of the vaccine as the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

"The doctors and nurses that work here at Michigan Medicine have been dealing with the pandemic since back in March and they've been exposing themselves to personal risk in order to live up to our shared values around taking care of the ill," Schlissel said. "Now they'll be able to do so with a greater sense of assurance that there will be less risk to their own health.

"And then very shortly thereafter, as soon as we get more doses, we'll start to vaccinate more broadly to people who have essential jobs and have to be exposed in public and then to the general public in the months ahead," he said.

Anyone who receives the vaccine can expect to be observed for a minimum of 15 minutes or longer if you have had an allergic reaction in the past to other medical products.

"Within about three days, if you are going to have a reaction to the vaccine, you would have it," said Michigan Medicine Epidemiologist Dr. Laraine Washer. "It occurs in about eight-percent or so of persons who get the COVID vaccine."

Dr. Washer said the reactions are relatively mild.

"Muscle aches, pain at the injection site, headache, chills or fever. And, more the most part, these reactions go away within about a day," she said.

Click on the video to hear more details about what to expect when you receive the vaccine and how anyone who has had COVID-19 should still plan to receive it.