First health care worker, UW Health doctor reflect on 1-year anniversary of COVID vaccine

NOW: First health care worker, UW Health doctor reflect on 1-year anniversary of COVID vaccine

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's been one year since the first health care worker in Wisconsin got the COVID-19 vaccine. And now, staff at UW Health are reflecting on that moment and also the world's fight against the virus.

Tina Schubert is a respiratory therapist with UW Health.

She said she was relieved when she got the vaccine, not just for herself, but for her family and also the patients who put their trust in her.

"And that was a very special moment. It was very emotional moment. It was very emotional. And that just made me happy," said Schubert.

It was Dec. 14, 2020 when Schubert breathed her first sigh of relief.

She said she was able to care for patients without the fear she was once had about COVID-19.

She felt "empowered."

"I just want to make sure I do a good job and take care of these patients because they're looking for me, the doctors and nurses to help them get better, help them breathe better, and they’re scared." 

Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health, said the vaccinations are a proud moment in the fight against the virus and the strength of the clinical trials.

"The clinical trials were performed very quickly, but at the same time, when we looked at the details, the data, how they were being designed, it didn't appear that any corners were being cut," said Pothof.

Pothof said the data about vaccine effectiveness exceeded medical expectations.

And as health leaders continue to research, a new vaccine could be on the way.

"We don't know what the future holds with this new variant, Omicron, but we're fully confident that the current vaccines will offer some protection and we're already working on a vaccine specific to Omicron," he explained.

In Wisconsin, the Department of Health Services reports more than 8.1 million vaccine doses have been administered, and more than 1.2 million additional or booster doses have been given.

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