First nurse to get COVID-19 vaccine in CA initially didn't want it; here's what changed her mind

ByKristen Sze and Eric Shackelford KGO logo
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
First CA nurse to get vaccine shares her experience
She did not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but she became the first person in California to get it. The nurse from Southern California explains why she changed her mind.

LOS ANGELES (KGO) -- The answer was simple: No. Helen Cordova was not going to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

So how did she become the first person in California to get it? That answer is also simple: Education.

RELATED: Los Angeles nurse among 1st in CA to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Cordova is an intensive care unit nurse at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center and that's where she started on her mission to learn more.

"There was a lot of mistrust, and that's normal. It's new, it's unknown, and that's the same for the virus," Cordova said. "As the information started coming out about the trials, that started to spark my interest."

Cordova said she started having conversations with co-workers and really looking into the research about the vaccine trials.

"That's probably the best thing to do, educate ourselves, get the information ourselves. As I started to dig in a little more, I felt more at ease," she said. "I started changing my stance on it. I went from 'absolutely not' to 'sure, here's my arm, let's do it.'"

VIDEO: NY nurse is 1st in US to get COVID-19 vaccine after FDA authorization

Sandra Lindsay, RN, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center got the first COVID-19 vaccine in NY.

She received one of two shots on Monday, and says while it will take time to develop immunity, it's starting to ease her fear and anxiety at work.

Cordova has witnessed the devastation of COVID-19 first-hand.

"We've seen just far too many deaths, and far too many deaths of people alone without family members there to hold their hand and that probably could have been prevented," Cordova she said.

However, the vaccine is bringing hope to her and many others as it continues to get distributed across the county. Her message to anyone who does not want to get the vaccine is to read for yourself: "An informed decision is one of the best decisions you can make," Cordova said.

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