WOODLAND (CBS13) — There’s finally some mental and emotional relief after nine long hard months. Nurses were some of those who spoke the loudest at the beginning of the pandemic, protesting when there wasn’t enough PPE. But now with the vaccine, they’re singing a different tune.

Woodland Memorial Hospital Chief Nurse Executive Gena Bravo will sleep easier knowing what’s expected to be the ultimate protection against COVID-19 is finally here. She administered some of the first COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers at Woodland Memorial Hospital Friday night.

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“We’re gonna make it through this. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. We have not seen that light yet, this is that light that we finally get to see,” said Bravo.

The last several months have been nerve-racking, mentally exhausting, and, at times, even frightening.

“A lot of people went out on leave early on because they were so terrified,” said Bravo.

“Back in March, we were all terrified because we didn’t know what we were going to be facing,” said Dr. Philip Laughlin.

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While it’s a job they signed up for, COVID-19 brought challenges many never saw coming.

“I have to tell you they say chaos brings out the best in people and I am so proud of the group of leaders I work with,” said Bravo.

At the beginning of the pandemic, nurses across Northern California protested saying hospitals weren’t taking their protection and the safety of their patients seriously.  They cited a lack of protective gear, like surgical masks, as a major concern. Now, the ultimate protection is finally in their hands.

“Having the shots is huge. This is just a great day,” said Dr. Laughlin.

“It’s like the weight of the world is off my shoulders.  It really is.  I went to sleep feeling a lot different last night than I will tonight,” said Bravo.

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