Jefferson Hospital nurse becomes first staff member to receive COVID-19 vaccine

A Jefferson University Hospital nurse on Wednesday morning became one of the first people in Philadelphia to receive the coronavirus vaccine, signaling the start of the city's effort to inoculate more than 1 million people.

Nurse Jennifer Gil said she felt "great" after receiving the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, and was "excited" and "honored" to be the first Jefferson Hospital staff member to receive the vaccine.

"It means a lot, I think it's a sign of hope," Gil said. "We still need to do the guidelines - wear a mask, social distance - our work continues, but I think it's a sign things are going to get better and we all just need to do our part."


Jefferson received a ration of the city's 13,000 doses of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, which gained federal approval last week. The nearly 3,000 doses Jefferson received will be used to vaccinate frontline staff who have seen the worst of the pandemic.

Gil has firsthand experience with the virus as both a caregiver and a patient. During her first shift testing for COVID-19 in March, she was flagged for a fever and later tested positive for the virus. 

"I was sent home and I was home for a while, so I felt guilty not being able to be in the frontlines," Gil said. "Being able to put on my scrubs and know that I was okay was such an incredible feeling, I never thought I'd get so overwhelmed by that."

Jennifer Gil, a nurse at Jefferson University Hospital, became the first staff member to receiver the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gil urged the public to do their part and "hold on together" as overworked and tired healthcare workers continue to treat violently ill patients. It's imperative that the public listens to recommendations made by health experts in order to contain the virus, according to the nurse.

"I see people who are healthy who are health who come into the hospital who aren't doing well and we are intubating people," Gil said. "I hope everyone does take it seriously because that's the only way we're going to get through it."


Philadelphia healthcare workers to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday

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