Health care workers feel ‘glimmer of hope’ as vaccines begin in Maricopa County

Emily Beck came off the night shift at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, where she’s an ICU nurse, and joined the line at the Arizona State Fairgrounds to get one of Maricopa County’s first COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The air buzzed with excitement as health care workers on the front lines gathered in their cars, awaiting the vaccine that brought them hope the end of the pandemic was, finally, in sight. 

“We have seen more people in our ICU than probably ever before. We’ve seen a lot of death. We’ve seen patients without their family members present go through some of the worst experiences of their life. And we don’t want it to be that way,” Beck said.

Across the Valley, a similar energy filled the air as health care workers and first responders began making their way through a drive-thru to receive their long-awaited shot. 

HonorHealth in Phoenix doctors Kris Samaddar, on the left, and his twin brother Robin both get their COVID-19 vaccine shot in west Phoenix on Dec. 17, 2020.

Twin brothers and emergency medicine physician colleagues Kris and Robin Samaddar got vaccinated together Thursday and said it was the first real sign of hope they’ve felt since the start of the pandemic.

Jenae McVicker, a critical care nursing educator at HonorHealth, was one of the first to get a shot. In a year of so much pain, she views the vaccine as a “silver lining” and “finally, a glimmer of hope.”

As a critical care nurse, she’s been long looking forward to a vaccine. But it still didn’t fully hit her until she got in line and realized she was among the first handful of people in Maricopa County to be vaccinated.