Gov. Steve Bullock was at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings Tuesday afternoon as health-care workers received the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“This really is a historic moment for our state and our country…no place I’d rather be as we start to see some light in what’s been a long, dark tunnel- really over the past nine, 10 months,” said Bullock.
Among the first of healthcare workers to receive the Pfizer vaccine was Douglas Parker, emergency physician for St. Vincent Healthcare.
“This is my number one wish for the last nine or 10 months to have this moment arise. When we can finally have something where we can fight this virus before we get it. So that we don’t catch it from someone and then spread it to someone,” said Parker.
Parker said that he has been worried for his wife, his kids and his elderly mother-in-law, who has lived with them since the pandemic began.
“Everyone that I know and work with has been right with me wanting to be the first (to receive the vaccine). I was just lucky to draw the straw. I would of course say that everyone out there who can, should go and get the vaccine,” said Parker.
Bryan Francis, assistant chief of training/ EMS coordinator for the Billings Fire Department, said he thinks it is important to set an example.
Francis was second in line to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“Being vaccinated not only protects myself but it protects the people I serve, along with setting a good example for the community,” said Francis.
Francis said this vaccine is important for Montana as well as the world so we can get back to life as we knew it before the virus.
“This is still not over. We have a long haul to go, but this is the beginning of, hopefully, us going on the offensive against this pandemic,” said Francis.
Bullock said the pandemic has been a challenge to our health infrastructure, economy and psyche but the vaccine is the beginning to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Bullock said he plans to take the vaccine.
“I do plan on getting a shot, but I will wait my turn. I do believe that this is absolutely safe and effective but first and foremost, it's folks like our healthcare workers and first responders that should be getting the shot. When it is widely available, according to the vaccine plan that is being developed, I will get it as soon as I can,” said Bullock.