A doctor among the first vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Dayton area said a year later that he is grateful for the shots and that our region must improve its vaccination rates.
Dr. Jeremy Moore, the emergency department medical director at Miami Valley Hospital North, was one of the first Dayton-area residents to receive the federally approved coronavirus vaccine when he got his first shot on Dec. 22, 2020.
The Dayton Daily News asked the 37-year-old Springboro resident to reflect on a year of COVID vaccines. His answers have been edited for length.
Q: When you got the COVID-19 vaccine last year, how did you feel?
Mentally, I was relieved. For the longest time during the pandemic, it felt like there wasn’t an end in sight. So getting the vaccine felt as if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And I felt hopeful as well. I felt hopeful for our patient population, hopeful for the elderly, those that are more at risk from getting sick from COVID. Physically, I just had a slight soreness in my arm and a small amount of chills overnight. But I tell people that that’s nothing compared to the symptoms that can arise from a COVID-19 infection.
Q: What has it been like to work in health care during the pandemic?
It’s been an exhausting two years. The burnout is a real thing in health care. And we’ve seen workers leave the emergency department or the intensive care units. And a lot of this is attributed to the increased volumes of patients that we’ve seen due to COVID-19. And one way that we can help this is to have everyone get vaccinated. Because then we’d have less people coming to the hospital. It’s frustrating that we have a tool that is proven to be helpful in the fight against the pandemic, and we still have half of the population that have not obtained it.
Q: How has the COVID-19 vaccine changed your life over the past year?
It’s given me peace of mind. Currently, those that are admitted to the greater Dayton hospitals for COVID-19 related illnesses, 87% of them are unvaccinated. And that’s consistent with what I’m seeing in the emergency departments at Premier Health facilities as well. The vast majority of those who are getting sick from COVID are unvaccinated. Myself and my family are all vaccinated, and it’s a lot less likely that someone that I love and care for will require hospitalization or die of COVID.
Q: How does your holiday season this year look compared to last year?
Last year, I had just gotten my first vaccine so I wasn’t wasn’t fully vaccinated, and no one else in our family had the chance to get the vaccine at that point. So we did Christmas virtually, through a Zoom meeting. And so this year, our families are all fully vaccinated, so we’re getting together and celebrating. It’s going to be fun. I’m very excited to finally get to do Christmas again. It’s one of our favorite holidays to get together. So last year was kind of a bummer.
Q: How do you feel about our community’s progress getting vaccinated a year later?
So about half of our communities, or half of Ohio basically, is vaccinated. So while it’s promising, I think we definitely need to do better. The vaccine is the best tool that we have to end the pandemic. And so we need those numbers to be like in the upper 80% to 90% vaccinated to really put a dent in the illness and hopefully end the pandemic.
Q: What do you want people to know about COVID-19 vaccines?
I want people to know just about COVID in general, that it’s real. As I said earlier, 87% of those that are being admitted right now for COVID-related illness are unvaccinated. And the COVID vaccine is the best tool that we have to end the pandemic.
There are some myths about the COVID vaccine I’d like to dispel. The COVID vaccine cannot cause a COVID-19 infection. The vaccine doesn’t change your DNA. Millions of people have obtained these vaccines, and they’ve been found to be safe and effective. Go to vaccines.gov or gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to find vaccine appointments locally.