IOWA CITY, Iowa — The vaccine arrived at the University of Iowa Hospital at 7:30 a.m. in a refrigerated FedEx truck, and it was not long before the first dose was injected into the arm of David Conway, 39, an emergency-room nurse.
“I am not nervous, I am very excited,” he said afterward. “I have been looking forward to the vaccine since March.”
Mr. Conway, who works directly with Covid-19 patients, said the shot was painless, but he was getting it at the start of a few days off, just in case there are any short-term side effects. Some recipients in clinical trials have reported feeling ill for a day or two, and Mr. Conway is not due back at work until Saturday.
“I look forward to when my wife and children can get the vaccine,” he said.
The hospital expects to vaccinate 130 people on Monday and keep going until it has used all 975 doses in the shipment, according to the hospital’s chief executive, Suresh Gunasekaran. Each recipient is observed for 15 minutes afterward to watch for allergic reactions.
Mr. Gunasekaran said the hospital wants to eventually vaccinate all 17,000 of its employees, but does not yet know when its next shipment will arrive from Pfizer. When a similar vaccine from Moderna is authorized, he said, the hospital expects to have access to many more doses.
Mr. Conway wore street clothes, a mask and plastic face shield, and said getting the shot was no reason to stop wearing a mask, washing hands frequently or maintaining social distance. “I won’t do anything different until everyone is vaccinated,” he said.