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AU Health gives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to staff

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 6:33 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - For health care workers, it’s been a very simple process to get vaccinated. They just come into Professional Building 1 on AU Health’s campus, register at the desks, and then walk into the clinic.

“It was like getting any other shot I’ve ever had through my life. Except that it was a little more exciting than it usually is,” said Pascha Shafer, Augusta University associate chief medical officer.

It’s exciting because she will soon experience relative normalcy.

“The biggest thing I’m eager for is to hug my parents,” she said.

She hasn’t given her parents a hug since the spring. And she hopes after receiving her second dose Thursday

“As we move forward, that this will help with preventing a surge in the future,” Britney Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson overseas AU’s COVID-19 testing sites. She says there have been more than 6,000 vaccinations at AU.

“Everybody is a little bit different, and we can all react differently. But for the most part, side effects have been few and far between,” she said.

But health officials say the second dose is more likely to bring side effects.

“When you get the second dose, your body is already recognizing the vaccine, so therefore, you have an enhance immune response,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche, director of pharmacy for AU.

Wyche is coordinating AU’s vaccination effort.

“Having side effects that we know of -- a little bit of fever, chills, maybe a headache is a good thing. It means we know our body’s immune system is reacting,” Wyche said.

But he understands many are still uncomfortable. AU has been educating its staff before and after getting a shot. And they say it’s worth it.

“Yes, maybe some risk of side effects from the vaccine. None major that we can determine, but we know that COVID-19 is deadly,” Schafer said.

Tomorrow, they plan to vaccinate more than 600 people with the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. And they plan to vaccinate people with the second dose of the Moderna vaccine on January 20.

AU says they will have a third clinic on Saturday to give the second Pfizer dose to hundreds more of their staff. Health officials estimate the second dose will provide around 95 percent protection against COVID-19.

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