Johns Hopkins doctor shares experience getting COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 6:58 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 19:28:01-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Today, an FDA committee voted to recommend the second COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization. Assuming it gets approved, distribution of the Moderna vaccine could start next week.

Meanwhile, the Pfizer vaccine is rolling out in Maryland and health care workers are already getting the first dose.

"It is a palpable fear we’ve all lived with over the last 8 months," said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos. "We would have this nervousness when we would leave the hospital, leave the intensive care units, are we bringing this home with us? Is this coming back with us?"

That’s why, after reviewing the data submitted to the FDA, Johns Hopkins Critical Care Doctor Panagis Galiatsatos knew he would sign up to get the Pfizer vaccine as soon as he could. Yesterday, he became one of the first in Maryland to get the first of two doses.

"I woke up, no aches, no fevers, no chills. I actually did a little bit of arm exercises this morning. Feeling good. Is it still achy? Yes, but to me this is no different than the flu shot," said Galiatsatos.

Dr. G said this vaccine is just another tool, along with PPE, giving him an extra sense of security as he continues working with the most severe COVID-19 cases.

"So many cases that just pull on the strings of humanity. Seeing fathers and daughters simultaneously struggle with the virus in two separate rooms. Talking to loved ones as we are holding the hands of a patient who is passing away and they are witnessing it through zoom," said Galiatsatos.

As more vaccines, like Moderna, get ready for emergency use authorization, he recommends people reach out to their doctors with any apprehensions they might have, so they feel prepared to make the decision when the time comes.

"If more companies get approved, I'm highly hopeful that maybe before even the end of the school year, the general public is receiving these vaccines," said Galiatsatos.

In the meantime, the current hygienic interventions, wearing masks, washing your hands and social distancing, are critical.

"The analogy I give here, is if you are on a sinking ship and you see a boat coming, you don’t turn and just start putting more holes in a sinking ship. Stay afloat so you can be rescued," said Galiatsatos.

It’s widely expected that the FDA will issue emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine Friday.