A Cochrane nurse was the first health care professional to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Calgary. 

Tanya Harvey, who is a registered nurse in the ICU at Foothills Medical Centre, received the Pfizer vaccine yesterday.  

She says she's pleased to see the vaccine roll out sooner than expected. 

"From a personal perspective, absolutely. It's not just myself that's exposed daily at work. I think everyone in our community whether they're aware of it or not is potentially exposed to COVID, in our community at the grocery store, at the library, all of the places that we've been going."

She will need her second dose in 21-28 days. 

Nearly 4,000 doses of the vaccine arrived in Alberta earlier this week and another 25,350 are set to be here by Monday, Dec. 21.

Harvey was joined by other health care professionals in Calgary on Tuesday. 

"There was another nurse form the intensive care unit that I work in. A nurse from the children's hospital ICU, another front line nurse, and then some of the physicians from intensive care."

She says she's not had any side effects from the vaccine and is working again today. 

"I am feeling fine. I absolutely empathize with the folks out there who are needle phobic. I hate needles. I prefer much to be on the other end of the needle, not on the pointy end. It was really nothing to be inoculated. My arm this morning is a bit tender, but I'll be completely frank with you, it's less tender than it was after having received my flu shot this year."

Harvey says there's finally a sense of some relief knowing that more and more of the population will soon receive the vaccine. 

"I feel well supported. I feel a sense of solidarity and with this vaccine I am starting to sense a glimmer of hope that we are now on a path forward through this pandemic. We're not there, we need to get a lot of people vaccinated, but having this vaccine available is sort of changing the landscape a bit, that we know there is an end."

Harvey encourages people who are unsure of the vaccine to look to evidence based, peer-reviewed scientific information. Not to social media. 

Tanya Harvey