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Frontline health workers receive first COVID-19 vaccine in Seattle

Thirteen frontline employees received UW Medicine's first administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

SEATTLE — A group of frontline workers received UW Medicine's first administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday morning.

The 13 workers are nurses, doctors, environmental-services staff and respiratory-care therapists.

Amy Fry, a nurse at Harborview Medical Center, was the first to receive the vaccine. She said she was excited and "for the first time in a while" felt hope and "that there is an end coming to this."

"I know we're still a long time away from that but we are taking steps toward it and it feels really good to be taking steps toward it," she said.

The first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Washington state Monday. UW Medicine received approximately 3,900 doses that will be distributed to Harborview Medical Center, Valley Medical Center and the Montlake and Northwest campuses. 

The state was expected to receive 62,400 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 15, with a total of 222,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine by the end of the month.

RELATED: Who is getting the COVID-19 vaccine first in Washington?

Around 500,000 people in Washington are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in its first distribution phase, according to estimates from the state Department of Health (DOH).

The first groups to receive the vaccine will be those most at risk, including frontline health care workers, along with firefighter-paramedics, ambulance drivers, and others who risk coming into direct contact with patients infected with COVID-19.

DOH documents said it could take two months to cover frontline workers, especially considering it's a two-dose vaccination. It could take several months for the general public to get vaccines.

Despite the first vaccine being delivered to frontline health workers, many people are taking a wait and see attitude before they get vaccinated. There is concern over side effects. Some people are not sure they even need to take it based on their own approaches to maintain their immunity. 

However, many doctors who are taking the first Pfizer vaccine now are recommending it to most people.

Experts said in the testing of the vaccine, it was found to be 95% effective.