OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – A historic first in the battle against the global COVID-19 pandemic as East Alabama Medical Center begins administering Pfizer’s vaccinations to hospital staff.

The first shipment of vaccines arrived at EAMC Tuesday morning. Later in the afternoon, vaccinations began, making Tuesday, December 15th, 2020, one for the East Alabama Medical Center history book.

A handful of EAMC’s healthcare heroes, including Hospital Chaplain Laura Eason and Nurse Gayle Spratlin-Anderson, received the first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine.

“This is a day we have been planning for and are excited to be able to have our frontline employees be among the first in the state to be vaccinated,” said EAMC Spokesperson John Atkinson.

Video provided to News 3 from EAMC shows the vaccine being unpacked from dry ice and placed into the hospital’s subzero freezer. The “Stop Shipment” button was pushed, telling EAMC the temperature level was maintained during shipment and confirmed to Pfizer the vaccines arrived at the hospital.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports the Pfizer vaccine is safe and prevents 95-percent of people from becoming sick with COVID-19 as healthcare heroes battle the deadly pandemic that’s killed more than 300,000 Americans as of December 15th, with 4,124 confirmed and probable deaths in Alabama.

Wednesday, to reinforce confidence in the vaccine, EAMC’s Dr. Ricardo Maldonado and EAMC’s Chief of Staff, Michael Roberts, will receive their vaccination. The media is invited to share the process and ask questions on behalf of the public as EAMC ramps up vaccinations inside the hospital during the first phase of the distribution process.