MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — An intensive care unit nurse in Manchester has become the first person to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in New Hampshire.

Heidi Kukla received her first dose of the vaccine Tuesday, quickly followed by four of her colleagues at Elliot Hospital. She said she wanted to inspire others to not be afraid.

“As an ICU nurse, I volunteered to be first to get this vaccine because I know a lot of people have reservations about getting the vaccine. They’re worried about how fast it was produced, what the long-term effects may be, but I can assure you that there is absolutely nothing worse than being a patient on a ventilator in an ICU anywhere in this country right now with COVID, and the anguish of the family members that can’t be there,” she said.

A New Hampshire ICU nurse receives one of the state’s first COVID-19 vaccines. (WBZ-TV)

Health care workers are first in line for the vaccine. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said the state expects to distribute all 12,000 doses in the initial shipment within a week.

The initial vaccinations were given outside in 27-degree weather, prompting one attendee to joke that officials were highlighting the vaccine’s cold storage requirements.

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