GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A year ago the world watched, as people in Portage, Michigan filled up coolers of the Pfizer vaccine.
Trucks were even escorted by police. People who were nearby said seeing this happen gave them hope.
"I'm not ready to die. I mean, I'm sure other people aren't ready to die," Robert Woonacott told FOX17.
Woonacott had to watch the news of the vaccine from his hospital bed after he caught COVID-19.
"I was like, Yeah, you know, I know that there's something out there. But everybody says it's like the flu you get it? You're gonna have flu symptoms, maybe some respiratory problems. Was I wrong?" Woonacott said.
Woonacott learned the hard way about the dangers of COVID-19. He says the doctors put him into a medically induced coma after he got sick with the virus. In total, he spent around 140 days in the hospital.
"It attacked my respiratory and was affecting my heart. And it was just attacking everything, and also taking some of my nervous systems, you know, like my legs, my arm, and things like that," he added.
More than a year later, Woonacott isn’t at 100%. He has braces to walk and still needs to catch his breath once in a while.
"Mary Free Bed was the one that just said, you know, you can do this, you know, when there was days when I just was tired, you know, but I got up at six o’clock every morning, had my breakfast and I was ready to go I would sit and wait for them because I was all excited about it," Woonacott said.
Not wanting to go through that again, Woonacott got the Moderna vaccine in January and the 2nd round in February.
"So, I've had it, I have all the antibodies for it. You know, but you know, transfusion and all those other things. So I thought, yeah, I'm gonna be good. Give me the shot. I want to be bulletproof. That's how I looked at it, you know, so I got the shots.
Kent County Immunization Supervisor Mary Wisinski watched similar struggles like Woonacott's while on the front lines.
"So, when that first vaccine came out, not only was I overjoyed, but it was really a feeling of relief,"
It was that relief Wisinski felt after a year of performing COVID-19 tests. She watched as people got sick and some who got so sick they didn't walk out of the hospital.
"It didn't seem we had anything real positive to offer back. You know, there wasn't something that would stop this virus in its tracks," Wisinski said.
This year: Michigan is on track to hit another wave of infections. Department of Defense has boots on the ground at two Michigan hospitals to help with COVID-19 patients.
"I'm just a little bit disheartened by the fact that a year later, we're in the situation that we're in. So I will tell you that I'm still cautiously optimistic that we can get through this. But I never last December would have thought that we would be where we are now, one year later," Wisinski told FOX17.
One year later, to help reduce hospitalizations, officials are urging the shot. Now, people have lined up for their 3rd shot, also known commonly as the booster.
Something Woonacott plans to get soon.