Last week, health care worker Oliver Graham, who treated coronavirus patients at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center’s intensive care unit in Martinez, received his COVID-19 vaccine after months of anxious working amid the pandemic.

Coronavirus vaccination

His wife, Carrie Graham, broke down crying after seeing a photo her husband sent her while he was being inoculated and holding up a peace sign. She said that after months of “walking on eggshells,” she could finally relax about Oliver’s close proximity to the disease.

A hospitalist at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Madhavi Dandu, was one of the first health care workers to be inoculated with the new vaccine. Next week, her husband, an emergency room doctor, is scheduled to receive his first dose of the treatment.

Dandu said that most of her worries dwindled as the year went on but kept creeping up every now and then. Whenever she and her husband come home from work, they still change their clothes in the garage, fearful of spreading the virus around. She said, “There have been cases of hospital transmission. Even in this pretty safe setting, there’s still that anxiety.”

The medical professional said her children were more than excited after hearing the news of their parents getting vaccinated. They said, “It means we’re getting closer to them getting to go back to school.”

San Francisco resident, Susan Kostal, said she was always worried about her sister, who is a nurse in Tulsa, Oklahoma, contracting the coronavirus. She said, “There’s this magical thinking that if we just keep talking and checking in, it will keep her safe.” However, Kostal’s sister got her first dose of the vaccine last week.

Kostal said, “It was actually a momentous experience,” while recalling the time her sister texted her about the news. Their brother replied with a photograph of whiskey, saying he would drink it alone to celebrate in his own way.

Another resident, Kyle Heise, whose mom and sister are both nurses at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, said he was grateful for the vaccine. Last week, the two health care workers got inoculated with their first dose of the treatment, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Heise said, “It’s a huge relief. Even though there’s another dose coming, even though it’s not over yet, it’s a huge relief to know that my family members were fortunate enough to be these people. These are some of the first people in the whole world.”

Kathleen Heise, Kyle’s mother, said the whole pandemic was “a little nerve-wracking. It’s been stressful and exhausting.” She said she immediately took the opportunity of being vaccinated when offered the chance.

She said, “This is the only way out. We have to jump on the monster’s back, or this is never going to end.” Kyle said, “You hear about it on the news, but it doesn’t really hit you until it’s like, ‘Hey, your family member is getting the vaccine.”