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COVID In Philadelphia: Nursing Student Volunteers To Administer Vaccines After Husband, Children Contract Virus

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be given today at hospitals across the Philadelphia region. Thousands of health care workers in our area have now received shots.

When COVID strikes a family, the impact spreads to schools and jobs. The sickest end up in hospitals, which is why the vaccine is so important for health care workers.

Among those giving and getting injections Friday, was a volunteer who's seen this coronavirus from two sides.

Getting the shot was emotional for Eileen Matthews, an emergency department nurse at Riddle Hospital.

At CHOP, it was time to celebrate getting the COVID vaccine, and at Jefferson, nursing student Jennifer Paone volunteered to give the vaccine.

"I want to make sure that everyone stays as safe as possible," she said.

And it's personal for Paone -- her family all had COVID-19.

"I was terrified," she said.

It started with her husband, who's a Philadelphia firefighter.

"His whole entire platoon got shut down. They take that precaution at the firehouse and everybody came back positive within a week," Paone said.

Then, like dominoes, the virus hit her family, including four children.

"It felt a whole lot like having a cold except a little bit worse," 12-year-old Hailey said.

"When I had the virus, it kinda felt like I had a fever," 5-year-old Gracie said.

As the kids tested positive, their respective classrooms had to go into quarantine.

"It was like nonstop," Paone said.

"I had the corona and I didn't get to do much stuff as usual," 8-year-old Layla said.

They all had different symptoms -- mom's were the worst.

"I was sick as a dog. I had a fever, chills, coughing, I couldn't breathe," Paone said.

Now they're recovered just in time for the holidays.

"We got through it so I know I can do anything now," Paone said.

Now she's seen what the virus can do, both personally and professionally.

"I just can't wait until we can return to some kind of normalcy. That's what I'm hoping the vaccination does," Paone said.

She says she's thankful that she and her family endured the virus without any serious complications. Now she's looking forward to a scaled-down Christmas and being done with 2020.


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