East Texas frontline heroes roll up their sleeves to get COVID-19 vaccine

Health care workers vaccinated at CHRISTUS Mother Frances in Tyler
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 11:32 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It showed up in a box that didn’t look all that special, but to the people at CHRISTUS Mother Frances in Tyler it looked like hope. Inside the box was Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“Hopefully it’s the end of this pandemic,” said Ryan Tamula, the administrative director of emergency services.

Tamula works inside the emergency room and said he comes face-to-face with COVID-19 every day. He was one of the first frontline workers to receive the vaccine at CHRISTUS Mother Frances, just hours after the vaccine arrived.

“The past 9 months have been tough,” he said. “It’s been challenging. A lot of sick people and this vaccine, I know there’s some fear, but on the flip side that’s a lot more scarier than this vaccine.”

Each day, Tamula wears goggles, an N95 respirator, another mask, and a scrub cap. If he goes into a COVID-19 patient’s room, he’ll even wear a different set of scrubs. He said it’s how he protects the family he goes home to. On Thursday, he added a new layer of protection.

“Now I have something else,” he said. “Something on the outside and something on the inside.”

Also among those first in line for the shot was Dr. John Henderson, who has been treating many COVID-19 patients since March.

“Honestly in my mind this is like our generation landing on the moon or the atomic bomb,” Henderson said. “What’s happened with this vaccine over the past 9 months is absolutely incredible from a scientific standpoint.”

In total, CHRISTUS Mother Frances received 975 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. The vaccine requires two doses, meaning all of the people getting shots today will need to come back in three weeks.

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