News 8 Exclusive: COVID-19 vaccine reaches Waterbury

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The only Connecticut TV news team on the scene when history was made at Waterbury Hospital Tuesday. The first box containing 975 vials of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine made its way to the Brass City.

The frontline emergency workers at Waterbury Hospital were the first to take it. Dr. Justin Lundbye’s name will go down in the record books as the first person in Waterbury to get the shot. He also helped to make history back in March when he was instrumental in helping to set up a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site outside the hospital.

That made Waterbury Hospital only the second hospital in Connecticut to offer that service.

Dr. Lundbye was reflective right after receiving the vaccine.

“This is a turning point for us,” Dr. Lundbye said. “The healthcare system and society as a whole has been compromised by this virus.”

“It’s very mentally draining,” said ICU Nurse, Monica Erwin, who was the second frontline hospital worker to get the vaccine. Seeing the box being brought into the hospital and then rolling up her sleeve to get the vaccine brought a smile to her face.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

Members of the general public will have to wait a little while until they get the vaccine. The plan is to make sure emergency and frontline workers get the virus first. We’re told it should take through January to get the shot to everyone at Waterbury Hospital. Emergency frontline workers at Waterbury’s other large hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, were administered the vaccine, as well.

“And then, some members of our EMS community, and our nursing home and skilled nursing facilities, as well,” said Lauresha Xhihani, spokesperson for Waterbury Hospital.

Waterbury is a city that has been hit hard by the coronavirus. At last check, there have been more than 6,800 positive cases in the city and more than 240 deaths.

“It’s been devastating to see all of our family and friends and the community be sick,” said Dr. Lundbye.

He says he wanted people to see him take the vaccine to build trust among city residents.

“Now we have a vaccination,” he said. “We have a tool that we can actually fight this horrific disease with.”

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