Luzerne County hospitals administer first COVID-19 vaccines to frontline employees

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Pfizer vaccine made its way this week to northeastern and central Pennsylvania frontliners, including some who got the shot today.

The COVID-19 vaccine is something we’ve all been talking about for months now. For some, it may have seemed out of reach, but the day has finally come. Several hospitals in our area administered their first round of COVID-19 vaccines today.

From packaging to delivery, the COVID-19 vaccine is here.

“I got the shot yesterday, and I’m here to say it’s fine,” said Anthony Valente, Chief Medical Officer, Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton.

Anthony Valente oversees all aspects of his hospital’s care. He was excited for the vaccine and in the first 24 hours of receiving it, he says he was already working out and experiencing no side effects.

“You have to look at it like you’re not only protecting yourself with this vaccine, but you’re protecting everybody else,” said Valente.

Lynda Naperkowski, along with other healthcare workers, has been on frontlines of this virus from the start. She got her vaccine Friday morning and says she’s happy to be on this side of history.

“Listen, it’s out there. People are dying from this virus. We need to do our part. I say, get this vaccine,” said Naperkowski.

Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Geisinger Wyoming Valley began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to their staff this week. Geisinger President and CEO Dr. Jaewon Ryu says, though this opens the door to a better tomorrow, the vaccine doesn’t make you invincible.

“I think it’s worth a reminder for all of us, especially as we approach the holiday season, we’re not out of the woods here,” said Dr. Ryu.

He urges masking, distancing and all of the protocols we’ve been told to follow throughout the pandemic.

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