United Regional marks one year since first COVID vaccine

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX / KJTL) – December 18, 2020 marked a milestone in Wichita Falls. That’s when the very first COVID-19 vaccines hit town [and] United Regional has started administering the vaccine to people on the front lines for the first time.

Today, health workers, who were among the very first to be vaccinated, reflect on the progress made.

For Jacky Betts and Rachel Reitan, just a year ago, they rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“What I remember the most is the state of anxiety and the state of ignorance and the hospital was completely full, I think we had about 130 COVID patients at a time and we didn’t know if that number was going to continue to rise and we had no end in sight and all of a sudden, all of a sudden, we turned COVID into a preventable disease, ”Reitan said.

“It was the first time since the start of the pandemic that we felt that we had moved from a defensive position to an offensive position, we actually had something now that we could give ourselves and our patients,” said Betts said.

Jacky Betts, who has managed United Regional’s COVID-19 operation since day one, believes vaccines are what made their progress possible.

“On the patient side, they felt like they had received something that allowed them for the first time to leave their homes, to enter the community and they felt it was a gift from God. “Betts said.

From the first dose, to the recent vaccination mandate for staff, employees and medical staff, COVID-19 is still part of the daily life of these frontline workers who have a message for those who are not yet vaccinated.

“Our community expects high quality evidence-based, high-quality evidence-based care from us and this is the same high-quality evidence that these vaccines were created from,” said Reitan,

A dose of hope for these health professionals as the community continues to fight to emerge from this pandemic.

At last check, 96% of United Regional staff are currently vaccinated or have an approved exemption [and] As the holidays approach, 43% of Wichita County residents are fully immunized this week.

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