First in the Red River Valley to get COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 5:29 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

Several health care workers got their long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine Monday as the first batches of the Pfizer vaccine arrived at Sanford Health in Fargo.

Lucky, grateful and humbling are words Sanford Infectious Disease Doctor Avish Nagal used to describe being the first in North Dakota to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“It’s been a long time, and a lot of people have paid a very big price for this disease, and many people continue to pay a big price,” said Dr. Avish Nagpal, with Sanford Infectious Disease and Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control.

He told us his arm doesn’t hurt, but that could change later on.

“The side effects are usually mild to moderate,” said Nagpal. “I’m sure I’ll have some soreness in the injection site tonight, but usually, that’s not a big deal because sometimes you get a fever after getting vaccines. That’s a good thing that means you’re mounting a good immune response to it.”

After you get your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you’ll have to be back in about three weeks to get your second dose to be entirely immune.

“You still need to wear your mask and do the social distancing,” said Sanford President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Doug Griffin.

Griffin said we’re not out of the woods yet, reminding you to be patient.

“We’re not ready to give it to the public,” said Griffin. “We will be eager to give it when it’s available for us to give.”

“It’s very safe,” said Nagpal. “It’s very effective. So we want as many people to get the vaccine as possible.”

Nagpal added there’s a lot of misinformation about the vaccine and said health care workers are trying to set an example in the community to show you it’s safe and are trying to relieve anxieties for you.

Sanford also told us they’ve dialed down a little bit on their COVID wings and floors downtown, but they’re staying cautious through the holiday season.

We here at Valley News Live plan on following up with those who got the vaccine and will have a full 24-hour check-up on them Tuesday.

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