PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout across Pennsylvania is going smoothly. The process was not impacted by the snow and bad weather, according to the state officials.

The prized shipments of the coronavirus vaccine arrived on schedule today around the region. Over 1,000 Pennsylvania health care workers have been vaccinated and the numbers are expected to grow quickly from now on.

It’s one of the most sought after gifts of the holiday season as the medical team at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children was happy to get the Pfizer vaccine.

“It was painless and I was definitely thrilled to be one of the first people to get it,” said Dr. Oje Menkiti.

Dr. Menkiti was like many others who wanted to protect themselves, patients, colleagues and their families. Signs about getting the vaccine said simply, it was for loved ones.

“Oh definitely, it is a relief to get this vaccine for me,” Dr. Menkiti said. “Mentally it makes me feel better about trying to jump in and do the best for my patients.”

Most children are not seriously impacted by COVID-19 but St. Christopher’s Hospital has treated more than 20 with multi-system inflammatory syndrome.

“A few of our patients do get really sick,” Dr. Menkiti said.

Unlike other hospitals that restrict visitors, St. Christopher’s has allowed parents to be with their children.

Even with strict safety precautions, the risk of exposure is higher because COVID is so widespread in the community. That’s why everyone who was offered the vaccine said yes.

“Couldn’t come soon enough,” Dr. Menkiti said. “We are excited. Hopefully now we can gain ground in getting things back to normal.”

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said vaccine delivery across the commonwealth was not impacted by the snow.

“In the first three-and-a-half days of this effort, things are moving smoothly in Pennsylvania,” Dr. Levine said.

With about 1,200 health care workers vaccinated, there have been no adverse reactions so far.

“This is really an enormous undertaking and I want to thank hospital partners for all of these efforts, especially in the face of also taking care of the surge of patients they are seeing,” Dr. Levine said.

Dr. Levine said the surge of patients is related to Thanksgiving festivities and she again reminded people not to gather for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

Precautions are still critical. Even though the first doses of the vaccine have arrived, the virus remains a threat to most people.


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Stephanie Stahl