LHS counselor among first to receive COVID-19 vaccine


Photo provided by Matt Meyers

Matt Meyers received his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18, and will receive his second dose in just two weeks.

Madeleine Kemper, Editor-in-Chief

Just weeks after the American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, developed a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, it has begun to be shipped and administered across the U.S. to certain citizens. In accordance with guidelines set forth by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, The Center for Disease Control created tiers to designate which citizens would receive the vaccine first. Tier 1a has two categories, one is for healthcare personnel, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, medical assistants and more. The other category includes residents of long term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

LHS counselor Matt Meyers works at Avera Behavioral Health as a per diem tech and works with adult patients who are experiencing mental health issues. The facility has a COVID-19 ward located between a couple of the adult units where they have patients who have tested positive, as well as those who are symptomatic. This close proximity elevated Meyers’ potential exposure to the virus, and therefore put him in one of the first tiers to receive the vaccine. 

Meyer’s vaccination took place on Friday, Dec. 18, at Avera’s main campus hospital. It was a relatively quick process, similar to getting the flu shot. The entire visit only took about 25 minutes, which included a 15 minute waiting period, to ensure that no bad reactions to the vaccine occurred. Because this process is so new, the CDC has set up QR codes to scan in the waiting rooms for follow-up surveys to find out what reactions, if any, patients have. 

“They checked me in and then they had about 30 nurses administering shots in a big room,” said Meyers. “So, you waited in line for the next available nurse, they would call you over, give you the shot (which was quite literally painless), then you would go and schedule your follow-up shot.”

  As far as side-effects go, Meyers has not experienced anything unusual. That following Saturday upon receiving the shot, his arm was pretty sore, but that is to be expected for any kind of shot. Moving forward, Meyers does not anticipate any other side effects and will return to receive his second dose of the vaccine in three weeks. 

“Honestly, when I scheduled my appointment, I got just a little emotional quite frankly, which surprised me.  It’s been such a long time, our lives have changed so drastically and to think there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel is a really great feeling,” said Myers.