OU Health frontline workers emotional after getting first COVID-19 vaccinations

TULSA, Okla. — OU Health administered its first COVID-19 vaccinations on Wednesday to its healthcare workers.

The first doses at OU Health were given at the same time to five frontline workers who they say represent “the team of healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 and other critically ill and injured patients at OU Health hospitals.”

One of those workers is intensive care unit nurse Brian Warkentine who began crying after receiving his shot.

It wasn’t the pain or physical effects of the shot that brought on his emotions.

“People don’t know what this is like,” Warkentine said as he fought through tears after his shot.

“It’s hope for the beginning of the end,” he said.

OU Health administered its first round of vaccines to 90 employees and providers on Wednesday.

The hospital system is using a risk-based assessment to determine which of its employees will be vaccinated in the first shipment of doses. Those coming in contact the most with COVID-19 patients are getting the first batch.

“As additional shipments of vaccine arrive, we will move as rapidly as possible through each phase to offer the vaccine to all employees and providers,” OU Health says.

The vaccine was administered Wednesday by OU College of Pharmacy and Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing healthcare professionals and students, as well as other trained healthcare workers.