EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — El Paso has reached a landmark in the fight against COVID-19.
Wednesday marked one year since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the city.
RECOMMENDED: Five UMC nurses received the first COVID-19 vaccinations in El Paso
KFOX14 spoke to the first recipient, Crystal Molina, who is an ER nurse at University Medical Center.
"It’s a new day to be on the front lines, to handle this, and to take care of our community no matter what," said Molina.
Molina said the anniversary actually snuck up on her, and she hadn't even realized one year had passed.
“I was very excited. I was nervous, I'm not gonna lie, but more than anything excited," Molina added.
The first round of vaccines arrived at UMC on Dec. 15th, 2020, and the offer to get one had gone out to a group of nurses.
Crystal decided, she’d step up to the plate.
“They kind of just asked, 'do you want to go first?' And we all just looked at each other. I raised my hand and said, 'I'll go first.'”
At that moment, she said she felt full of hope for the future and that it’s been a relief to see so many roll up their sleeves as well.
But she said the work in El Paso isn’t done just yet.
RECOMMENDED: El Paso COVID-19 data show hospitalizations continue to soar
KFOX14 Reporter Lianna Golden: "Did you ever think we would get back to where we are right now?"
Crystal Molina: "I guess I had hoped that we wouldn’t.”
With COVID-19 cases surging once again, Crystal says the solution, although it may be tough to swallow, is clear and requires you to keep your distance from family.
“I know it’s extremely hard, especially on the holidays, in our community. We are very family-oriented, however, because you love your family, we encourage you to stay home," said Molina.
She said the front lines are still full, even if people at home can't see them.
"Every day is a new day. Some days are harder than most, some days we see some sicker people than most," said Molina.
KFOX14 Reporter Lianna Golden: "Do you still feel hopeful for the future regardless of what our current situation is right now?"
Crystal Molina: "I do. I really do.”
Her hope and message for this community are to remain strong.
"I would still encourage everyone to get vaccinated," said Molina.
Molina said since she's on the front lines and comes into contact with patients in the ER before they're tested, she typically tries to stay home and keep her distance from her family, for their own safety.
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