There were no dull faces as the first Nashville General Hospital health care workers rolled up their sleeves to be vaccinated.
The hospital received its first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday, several days after Tennessee began distributing vaccines at other hospitals across the state.
The state had originally placed these doses on reserve, but after criticism, they shipped 500 of them to Nashville General just hours before they were administered.
Six front-line staff members volunteered to receive the first doses.
“It was a no-brainer that I, for sure, was 100% going to get it,” said Dr. Andrew Pierre, a podiatrist.
Pierre previously had COVID and didn’t want to fight it for a second time. Between experiencing that and doing his own research about the safety of the vaccine, Pierre told WPLN News that he didn’t need to be convinced to take it.
“I’ve never been that sick in my entire life, and I’m 35 years old currently,” said Pierre. “To the point where you can barely breathe, you have to lay a certain type of way. The fever, the chills were very severe.”
Pierre says his mother, a nurse in Florida, also contracted the virus. He said despite the atmosphere of smiles and celebrations as he and his colleagues received their shots, he won’t be relieved until there is widespread distribution.
“Once 70% of the U.S. population gets vaccinated, then we’ll have reached that so-called herd immunity,” said Pierre. “But we have a long way to go for that.”
The vaccines come as Tennessee hospitals are struggling to handle the state’s surge in new COVID-cases and hospitalization rates. On Sunday, Gov. Bill Lee signed a new executive order in an attempt curb the spread of the virus.