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THIS WEEK: The first vaccines are given, now what?

Are the first Quad City recipients of the Pfizer vaccine still being monitored after the shot?

The first of the shots came to Davenport.

Then Peoria, Galesburg, and Rock Island.

Front line health workers stood up to be injected.

Medical professionals at area hospitals were the first to get a shot in the arm from the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

"My hope is that I can share that with my grandchildren and say 'Hey, I lived through the COVID pandemic, and I got that ice-cold vaccine and I didn't turn into a zombie"," said family practice physician Dr. Michael Persson, who became the first Quad City person to publicly receive the shot.

But what has happened since?

Those drug makers, Pfizer and Moderna, went through tests on the vaccine before getting approval through the Food and Drug Administration.

Even so, these first tens of thousands of injections are still a test of the impact the vaccine will have on our health.

"It's likely we'll notice some things that we didn't notice in the smaller trial," said Genesis Health System chief medical officer Dr. Kurt Andersen on "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens".

"But certainly we don't anticipate any serious safety issues at this point."

Those who received the vaccines were immediately asked to wait 15 minutes as doctors and nurses evaluated any reaction they might see from the shot.

And that monitoring continues.

"Everyone has an app that they download, if they have a side effect, that they download into the national data bank and if we're aware of a side effect an employee has that's significant, we're also reporting that up through the national reporting system," said Dr. Andersen.

There have been some reports of adverse reactions and a fainting spell.

But nothing serious has been reported in the Quad City area.

Listen to our entire interview with Dr. Kurt Andersen, Genesis Health chief medical officer, on THE CITIES podcast.

In a way, the very first recipients of the vaccine are a continuation of the teat of its effectiveness as well as its effects.

"We have to prioritize our vaccinations based on availability of the vaccine and then we've got to work from health care workers and nursing home residential workers," said Dr. Andersen.

  • The people who got vaccinated first will get their second dose three weeks later
  • By the middle of January 2021, studies will look into whether the vaccine is safe children and pregnant women
  • 50 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated by the end of January
  • The government said the general population can likely begin getting the shots in March 2021
  • The federal government also said it purchased enough doses to vaccinate every American by the end of June 2021

 "It will take some time," said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker as the first shots were being administered.

"The manufacturers of these vaccines are working diligently, the FDA is working diligently to give emergency use authorization," the Governor said.

You can watch "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens" Sunday mornings at 10 on WQAD News 8.