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'Time Is Of The Essence': First COVID-19 Vaccine Shots Given Hours After Shipments Arrive

BOSTON (CBS) - They wasted no time at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Just a few hours after a shipment of 2,925 doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived Tuesday, healthcare workers had started the vaccination process.

"Time is of the essence," said Chief of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Helen Boucher. "People are dying every minute from this disease."

So far the hospital has given shots to 10 healthcare workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients. "We know that we still have our long winter ahead of the surge and hospitalizations, and death and suffering, but at the same time, it's a good day to have hope," said Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron.

The same Pfizer vaccine shipments arrived at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals in Boston and 12 affiliate hospitals across the region Tuesday. UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester also got a shipment. "To be part of this is very exciting," said Pharmacy Manager Lorie Gull.

Those who've stepped up to get the vaccine so far say they're optimistic. "I have hope, hope," said 96-year-old World War Two veteran Margaret Klessens, who was the first person in the state to get the shot Monday. She says she looks forward to being able to visit with family. "That's what it means to me, just to love them, love them."

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