Michiana native among first in Indiana to get COVID-19 vaccine

NOW: Michiana native among first in Indiana to get COVID-19 vaccine

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NAPPANEE, Ind. - Howard Brumbaugh is an Indianapolis-based ophthalmologist who was born and raised in Nappanee. He graduated Nappanee high school in 1968. Sunday, he found out he is going to be among the first to get his COVID-19 vaccine. The Indiana State Department of Health said he would be eligible to get his first dose of the vaccine next weekend. He said he is excited to lead the way.

"I've been saying for several weeks, I'd love to be the first in line," Brumbaugh said. "I hope my enthusiasm is somewhat contagious so that those who are reluctant...maybe something I can do or say will help relieve their anxiety about getting vaccinated."

Brumbaugh said he was surprised to find out he would be among the first. He said the health department did not say why he was picked to be.

"I was quite surprised," Brumbaugh said. "I got a text message from one of my associates with a link to the Indiana Department of Health, and there it was 'You're eligible for a vaccine if you're a healthcare worker."

Brumbaugh said while he does work closely with primarily older, senior citizen patients, his excitement also came with a bit of guilt.

"I almost feel as though there are others who, for as easy as it was to sign up, I know there is a limited number of vaccines, and I almost feel as though someone should be ahead of me, but I've been anticipating this time for a long time," Brumbaugh said.

Brumbaugh and his sister, Barbara Keck said they are so excited a vaccine is finally here, they are not at all worried about the possible risks.

"When you balance the risk that comes with some allergic reactions versus trying to get this pandemic under control, the risk is minimal," Keck said. "Sign me up for the vaccine. I'll take it as soon as I can get it."

With the holiday season in full swing, Keck said this new was the best Christmas gift she could ask for.

"Merry Christmas," Keck said. "It's the best gift that I could ever get to know that my brother is going to be safe and able to continue to serve a very significant part of our senior citizen population."

Brumbaugh said he will be getting his first dose of the vaccine this coming Saturday.

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