‘It helps me breathe easier at night’; VCU Health frontline doctor shares COVID-19 vaccination journey

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — VCU Health is moving full steam ahead continuing to vaccinate frontline workers, on Tuesday the medical facility announced certain VCU students are now also eligible for the vaccine.

The facility is entering the next phase of its vaccination rollout plan. VCU Health has been administering the COVID-19 vaccine for nearly one month and received shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

8News spoke with a VCU Health doctor on Tuesday who was among the first at the medical facility to be fully vaccinated, sharing his story in hopes of educating the public.

For Dr. David Goldberg, the last 11 months have been non-stop and recently he’s been grappling with the coronavirus holiday surge. Goldberg tells 8News he has a lot of patients who gathered for the holidays and contracted the virus.

“Right now the hospitals are bursting at the seams,” Goldberg told 8News. “This is the worst the pandemic has been and I wish people had the same amount of respect for the pandemic as they did back in March.”

A Hospitalist at VCU Health, Goldberg directly treats COVID positive patients, working selflessly on the frontlines.

“I’ve had a lot of patients die from it and even if you recover what does that mean,” said Goldberg. “For some, their lungs will never be the same after.”

Doing all he can to protect others and himself, Goldberg is one of more than 19,000 people across the state to be fully vaccinated.

“Morale is low at times because of how bad things are, but this vaccine gives us hope.”

Documenting his vaccination journey with photographs, Goldberg was among the first at VCU Health to roll up his sleeve to receive the Pfizer vaccine. He got the first dose on December 17 and the second onThursday, Jan. 7.

Goldberg shared with 8News that he was perfectly fine after the first dose and after the second he experienced a minor headache, chills and muscle soreness, however he says those symptoms went away within twenty-four hours.

“I feel very fortunate and grateful that I’ve had the vaccine,” exclaimed Goldberg. “It gives me a sense of security. It helps me breathe easier at night knowing that when I come home to my wife that I’m more protected than what I was 11 months ago.”

Goldberg goes on to say that there are a lot of myths surrounding the vaccine and he says the science speaks for itself. He says the vaccine will not give you the virus or does not change a person’s DNA. The frontline healthcare worker has a vital message to share with the public.

“Please go get vaccinated when it’s your time,” said Goldberg. “It’s safe, it’s effective, do it for yourself, do it for your family , do it for your loved ones and in the meantime continue to protect yourself.”

Despite being fully vaccinated, Goldberg says the majority of the population is not and he and others must continue to wear their masks, social distance, and stay home if possible because Virginia’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb daily.

Since Dec. 16, VCU Health has administered the vaccine to more than 8,600 team members and is shifting to its next phase of VCU students. As of now, the vaccine is limited to only those who work directly with patients, which include those in clinical training and health programs.

According to a VCU Health release, about 2,100 students are eligible and will be notified.

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