Some healthcare workers were optimistic after receiving their second dose of the vaccine.By Chris Hoffman

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sunday morning started the effort to get people fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 100 private or unaffiliated healthcare workers got their second shot of the vaccine.

Over the past month, more than 700 people have received their shots through the help of the Direct Primary Care Physicians of Pittsburgh.

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“We’re excited to see some familiar faces back today,” Dr. Natalie Gentile of Gentile Family Direct Primary Care said.

One of those faces was Pitt Medical Student Alexis Hester. We were there as she got her first shot four weeks ago.

“Once my grandma is vaccinated, we can have Easter together and I can study in coffee shops. It really opens a lot of doors, and I’m excited about that,” Hester said.

The second year med student has been unable to shadow and go into the hospital for her studies. This second dose changes all that.

“I’m going to get there for clinical years and it’s nice we don’t have to worry about that,” Hester said.

Dr. Gentile was getting her second shot Sunday too. She experienced what this virus can do as her husband, who is also a doctor, and two children all came down with it.

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“It affected our ability to do our jobs to take care of patients,” Dr. Gentile said.

After her first shot, she experienced some side effects including feeling sick.

“If you’ve had COVID before, when you get this shot, you might feel sick after you get your first and second doses. That is ok. That is normal,” she said.

Dr. Gentile is glad to be in a better spot to combat it and keep others safe.

“I can’t put into words what kind of solace that brings us and how it makes us feel safer,” she said.

Over the next two weeks, the direct primary care physicians will give another 600 people their second dose.

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During their vaccine efforts, they have been able to raise $6,000 for medical debts. Each dollar is able to eliminate $200 of debt, so they have raised enough to eliminate $1.2 million in medical debt.