United Regional staff express hope for future after hospital begins vaccines process

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Vaccinations in Wichita Falls are officially underway.

United Regional started the process this afternoon and they had every slot on day one filled, vaccinating 250 employees today.

“It’s just another shot,” Shane Statham, RN Medical ICU, said.

“And honestly it was better than the flu shot,” Alex Newman, ER charge nurse, said.

The COVID-19 vaccine is in Wichita Falls, a hopeful turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ever since the pandemic has started, we’ve been on the defensive side, now today, we move to the offensive side of the field,” Jacky Betts, director of Trauma and Emergency programs, said.

These four have seen it all during the pandemic.

“Tough and demoralizing and exhausting,” Rachel Reitan, nurse practitioner of Infectious Disease, said.

So this day is a breath of fresh air.

“We’ve gone from working on the floor with patients who are very ill and we can get them medication but there’s no cure-all to end it so if there’s something I can do to help these patients, help our community, I’m gonna do that,” Statham said.

And after battling on the front lines for close to a year now.

“It was just really nice to be together with them to be together with the strongest people I’ve ever met, the people that I’ve been so honored to work with and that have really gotten this community thru a crisis,” Reitan said.

Betts has managed United Regional’s COVID-19 operation since day one and these four are just the start.

“This is going to fill a lot of voids that we currently have and will allow us to do the greater good for the greatest number of people and that’s why we’re here, and that’s what it’s all about,” Bett said.

One eye on the pandemic.

“This is one of those things where we can safely go and hug our loved ones without worrying,” Newman said.

And another on the vaccine.

“This vaccination is our only hope to get back to normal,” Reitan said. “This is the beginning of the end and it’s exciting and emotional”

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