LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- "Today is a truly great day in the Commonwealth. A historic day. A day that we have hoped and prayed for."

That's how Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear described Monday, Dec, 14, 2020: the day the first people in Kentucky received coronavirus vaccinations. 

As the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history began, five frontline health care workers received the vaccine at U of L Hospital. The first to receive the vaccine was UofL Health's chief medical officer, Dr. Jason Smith. As he bared his arm for the shot, Smith said he had full confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. 

"I volunteered to go first because of that, and hopefully set the example for other," Dr. Smith said.

Two nurses and two other doctors also got the shot, including Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor who has been on the COVID unit since March 17. 

"I just lost my 27th patient today so the vaccine I took today was for her family and for the other 26 that i've lost," said Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor

Infection prevention nurse Lawshawn Scott also got the shot and called it an honor.

"One way I get to encourage other African-Americans to get vaccinated and prove that this vaccine is safe and also let everyone know that it's a healthcare worker who also may be hesitant about getting vaccinated that this vaccine is safe"

"Today is, I think, the best day I've had since March 6 of this year," Beshear told the crowd, adding that, "today we can see victory. We can see the defeat of this coronavirus and the end of this pandemic."

"This is a historic achievement that promises to save lives in this fight, restore our economy, get our kids back to school and let our kids hug their grandparents once again," Beshear said.

Beshear said he expects to be vaccinated early next week.

UPS delivered the long-awaited Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations to be distributed in Louisville to U of L Hospital Monday morning.

The first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine landed at UPS Worldport Sunday afternoon and will be delivered across the country Monday. 

Then came the preparation as U of L pharmacy staff was on hand to get the precious cargo ready to be administered. 975 doses were allocated to U of L Health as well as facilities in Lexington and Bowling Green.

"God bless Kentucky. God bless the United States of America. And thank you Lord, for this vaccine," Beshear said.

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