A 94-year-old World War II veteran and prisoner of war rolled up his sleeves on Tuesday and became the first person in Birmingham, Ala., to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Lee Elm Creel told AL.com that the jab “felt about like a flu shot.”
Creel wasn’t the first in the state to receive the shot, but Birmingham’s VA Medical Center was the first in the county to administer the vaccine, according to the news outlet. On Monday, another WWII veteran became the first VA patient to receive the vaccine.
Margaret Klessens, 96, received the shot shortly after noon on Monday, according to VA Bedford Healthcare System.
Creel was one of a number of former POWs lined up to receive the vaccine on Tuesday.
“It’s only fitting that after everything they’ve given to our country, they should be first to get the vaccine,” Stacy Vasquez, CEO of the Birmingham VA Medical Center, told AL.com.
Alabama’s vaccine distribution plan falls in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance and what many other states are following. In addition to front-line health care workers and first responders, the state’s health department included residents and staff of nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Phase 1 for vaccine distribution.
The state’s health department said the first shipments of 40,950 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine arrived Monday and were distributed to 15 different hospitals.