LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It has been one week since Kentucky received its first COVID-19 vaccines.

What You Need To Know

  • Health care workers from UofL Health received vaccines on Dec. 14

  • One week later they are speaking out about their experiences

  • No ill side effects for anyone

  • All urge everyone to be diligent


The first five health care workers at UofL Health are now talking about their experience and the reason behind their participation in the vaccination plan. 

Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor works with COVID-19 patients daily, but she says being able to take the vaccine does not mean she can let her guard down around her patients.

Briones-Pryor says working with COVID-19 patients daily can be stressful at times; she has lost 28 patients since the pandemic has started. Briones-Pryor says she took the vaccine to honor the patients she lost and to bring some hope to the community that this pandemic will hopefully be coming to an end soon. 

“All of our stress is relieved in the sense of, now we're more hopeful. Our job is still not done. We still come to work every day, we're still, you know, taking care of these patients we're still doing everything that we were doing, even before we got vaccinated,” Briones-Pryor said.

Dr. Jason Smith, UofL Health's Chief Medical Officer says he wants to remind Kentuckians that even though there is a vaccine making its way through the Commonwealth, that does not mean that Kentuckians should let their guard down to COVID-19, especially with the upcoming holiday season. 

“Just because the vaccines out it's not widely deployed yet so you know I think I've said this before, we're coming to the finish line. And, you know, don't stop running now, continue to work through, continue to power through the end and we'll get through this well. We'll save as many lives across this community as we possibly can,” Smith said.

Smith says as of Monday morning, around 500 employees were already vaccinated. He says if the shipments continue to come in quickly, he hopes to have around 7,000 health care workers at UofL Health vaccinated before the end of January. 

“I know that we're going to have a mixture of the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine probably beginning after Christmas. As those shipments come into Kentucky into our facility, then we'd have a better idea of how quickly we can get all of the people that we need to be vaccinated,” Smith said.