LUBBOCK, Texas — On Tuesday, the first caregiver received the coronavirus vaccine in Lubbock after Covenant received their first batch of doses.

Registered nurse and first vaccine recipient, Noe Melendez, said in his ten years on the front lines, he has never experienced anything like COVID-19.

“We’ve been through the SARS, the H1N1, but yeah it’s nothing like this,” Melendez said.

When he was asked if he wanted to take the coronavirus vaccine, he didn’t hesitate.

“Oh yeah, I wanted it. Yeah,” Melendez said.

So when he received the first injection, the room erupted in a round of applause.

“I guess it’s an honor. I was gonna get it. You know I wasn’t afraid,” Melendez said.

His dose is just one of between 700 and 750 vaccines Covenant can give in a single day.

“We got just under three thousand doses. That is less than 50 percent of our caregivers. So our goal is to figure out who is the highest risk and how we can get it to the right people first and eventually we’ll try to get it to more as more supply becomes available,” Wesley Wells, regional pharmacy director for Covenant Health said.

Folks are chosen based on place of work, exposure, age, and other risk factors, according to Covenant. The vaccine is not mandatory but is highly encouraged. Chief Medical Officer for Covenant Health, Dr. Craig Rhyne said the vaccine is also safe.

“This is state of the art, this is probably where vaccinations are going to in the future,” Dr. Rhyne said.

Because after nine months, the vaccine is giving our healthcare workers hope for a life back to normal, but the caregivers said it’s going to take all of us getting it.

“I believe everybody should get it. Nobody likes a lot of these restrictions but hopefully, that helps keep some people safe. We’re still going to have to be careful, but hopefully, this gives you more protection,” Melendez said.

Covenant said Walgreen’s and CVS will handle giving the vaccine to folks in places such as nursing homes and other long term healthcare facilities.

“I mean I see the sickest of the sick. If we can help curve that, that would be amazing for everybody,” Melendez said.