“We had no end in sight and suddenly, all of a sudden we had turned COVID into a preventable disease” United Regional marks one year since first COVID vaccine

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — December 18th, 2020 marked a milestone in Wichita Falls. That’s when the very first COVID-19 vaccinations arrived in town [and] United Regional began giving those on the front lines the vaccine for the first time.

Now health care workers, who were among the very first to get vaccinated are reflecting on the progress made.

For Jacky Betts and Rachel Reitan it was just a short year ago that they were rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“What I remember most is the state of anxiety and the state of unknowingness and the hospital was completely full, I think we had about 130 COVID patients at one time and we didn’t know if that number was going to continue to rise and we had no end in sight and suddenly, all of a sudden we had turned COVID into a preventable disease,” Reitan said.

“It was the first time from the time the pandemic started we felt we went from a defensive position to an offensive position we actually had something now that we could give ourselves and give our patients,” Betts said.

Jacky Betts who has managed United Regional’s COVID-19 operation since day one believes vaccines are what has made their progress possible.

“From the patients side they felt like they had received something that allowed them for the first time to leave their homes, to get into the community and they felt like it was a gift from God,” Betts said.

From the first dose, to the recent vaccine mandate for staff, employees and medical staff members, COVID-19 is still part of the daily lives of these frontline workers who have a message for those who aren’t yet vaccinated.

“Our community expects high quality care from us that is based on evidence, that is based on high-quality evidence and that’s the same high quality evidence that these vaccines were created from,” Reitan said,

A dose of hope for these medical professionals as the community continues to fight its way out of this pandemic.

At last check 96% of United Regional staff are currently vaccinated or have an approved exemption [and] as holidays arrive, 43% of Wichita County residents are fully vaccinated as of this week.

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