PELL CITY — A Pell City native last week became one of the first people to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in the state of Texas.
Dr. Justin Evans, a 2008 graduate of Pell City High School and emergency medicine doctor at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, was one of the first doctors in the Lone Star State to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, on Dec. 14.
“I feel great,” Evans said, adding he has had no symptoms from the vaccine.
Evans received his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and attended medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed his residency in emergency medicine in Dallas.
He said he has worked as an emergency room doctor ever since, a position that has put him on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Evans said this time on the front lines has certainly been an adventure, but one that became less scary as time went on.
“When this whole thing started, we had no idea how contagious it was,” he said. “At the very beginning, it was extremely scary.”
But as time went on, he said, doctors got a better idea of how to prevent infection, like wearing masks and social distancing, and it became less and less scary.
Evans said with the vaccine, doctors will now have armor on top of their precautions to keep from getting sick. He said when he receives his second dose of the vaccine Jan 4, he will have a 95 percent immunity to the virus.
He said if doctors and people continue to combine mitigation measures with the vaccine, the chance of infection will become near zero.
Evans said while much of the talk about the vaccine has been about how quick it’s been developed, he feels people should know it has been in clinical trials since January. He said research into mRNA viruses and vaccines has been going on for some time, with all that research being used for this effort.
“We have really good data from those trials,” Evans said. “We not only have a safe vaccine but a very effective one.”
He said he knows there have been politicians who have downplayed the importance of the vaccine and health orders, along with a lot of general misinformation, but he thinks people should focus on the science.
“I would encourage people to trust the scientists when it comes to science,” Evans said.