A radiologist from Alabama who was one of the first healthcare professionals in the U.S. to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has shared her story because of her experiences interpreting chest and lung images of patients with the disease.
Dr. Joy Henningsen works as a diagnostic radiologist at Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She received the vaccine on 17 December along with other staff at the facility. The Birmingham VA Medical Center received some of the first shipments of the vaccine in the U.S.
Henningsen noted that while as a radiologist she's not on the front lines in caring for COVID-19 patients, she sees the damage caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus through their images.
"I am a constant witness to COVID-19's serious effects via the dark tales told by my patients' medical images," she wrote in a first-person article for Business Insider.
Henningsen also noted that she's an "outspoken pro-mask, pro-vaccine healthcare communicator" who felt compelled to tell her story to assuage concerns that some individuals may have about the vaccine's efficacy or its side effects. She even shared her enthusiasm via a post on her Twitter account.
Henningsen said getting the COVID-19 vaccine was "much less painful" than the flu shot she received earlier in the fall, and she's looking forward to receiving the second shot in three weeks.
Despite being vaccinated, she said she does not plan to return to a normal life of traveling and socializing until 75% of the American population is immunized.