Watch CBS News

Healthcare Workers Who Treated Illinois' First Known COVID Victims Get Vaccinated

CHICAGO (CBS) -- They cared for the first two identified COVID-19 patients in Illinois, and this morning a doctor and two nurses in the northwest suburbs were immunized against the coronavirus.

CBS 2's Mugo Odigwe spoke with them.

Many caregivers here at AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates were involved in caring for the woman who was the first confirmed COVID-19 patient in Illinois, and later her husband, at a time when much was unknown about the virus.

Today those medical workers got a big thank you in the form of a vaccine.

"No reaction, no arm pain; actually, barely felt it," AMITA Health nurse Alyssa Miller said after she was vaccinated.

"The shot didn't hurt anything. It was fine," said Dr. Lynwood Jones, AMITA Health infection control specialist.

"Physically I feel fine. You know, no different than a flu shot. Actually less painful than the flu shot," AMITA Health nurse Claire Antemann said.

It was a full circle moment. These caregivers, doctors, and nurses were the same ones tasked with caring for Illinois' first identified COVID-19 patient on Jan. 24. Soon they had to care for her spouse as well.

"When we were out here almost a year ago, we had two patients, but that was over 300,000 deaths ago," Jones said.

"It does seem like quite a long time ago," Antemann said.

This morning, they each got the COVID-19 vaccine.

Antemann's first thought was "light at the end of the tunnel is pretty fitting."

Miller said it signals a better future.

"Take my kids out, and come into nursing, and not scared of the COVID," she said.

These AMITA Health frontline workers aren't the only ones getting vaccinated.

Throughout the past few days, nurses and doctors at several Illinois hospitals have gotten the shot.

Today so will frontline staff and first responders at Loyola University Medical Center and NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital.

Jones hopes the public will soon follow suit.

"Our risk of getting COVID is very high. The risk of having a bad reaction to the vaccine is low," he said.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, nurses, doctors and other frontline workers at St. Alexius will be getting the shot.

Also From CBS Chicago:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.