RICHMOND, Va. -- Healthcare workers at VCU Medical Center rolled up their sleeves Wednesday to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
They also took time to share messages with other Virginians about the importance of being vaccinated.
ICU nurse Aubrey Roberson was the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the VCU Health System.
For her, getting vaccinated was a simple choice.
"I miss my family, I miss my mom," she said. "I've had very limited access to my mom over the last 10 months."
A similar scene played over the HCA Healthcare System where Dana Hubbard was the first vaccine recipient at Chippenham Hospital.
Hubbard has been treating COVID patients as the head nurse of the hospital's COVID ward.
"This pandemic, we never want to see this again," she said. "I shouldn't have to cry driving home at night. I shouldn't have to cry coming in. But that's what this pandemic has done."
The two systems are among 18 across Virginia that started vaccination efforts this week.
VCU said it received around 3,900 doses and expect more next week.
The health system hopes to have its employees vaccinated by the middle of next month.
Roberson was asked about the symbolism of her as a Black woman being first to receive the vaccine given historic mistrust among the African American community with the healthcare industry.
"I understand that perhaps historically, we may have had some challenges when it comes to trust. I am here to say that I do trust the work that has been done," she said.
Healthcare workers are just one part of that group that is getting first access to the vaccine in Virginia, the other being long term care facility residents.
Vaccinations for those in long term care facilities will mostly be handled by vaccination teams from CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, in a partnership with the federal government.