WORCESTER (CBS) – Nine months into the pandemic, doctors who have been treating COVID patients say the vaccine is their greatest source of hope.

Dr. Gayle Galletta has anticipated this moment for months. “Excitement would be an odd word, but relief,” Galletta said after she got the shot.

READ MORE: Male In Norwood Shot Multiple Times, Taken By MedFlight To Boston Hospital; Police Searching For Gunman

Relief that she’s getting a vaccine that will also protect people around her. Early on, the emergency medicine physician at UMass Memorial Hospitals in Worcester and Clinton worried constantly she’d bring the virus home to her family.

Dr. Gayle Galletta gets COVID-19 vaccine (WBZ-TV)

“I would get undressed in the garage or in the laundry room. Take a shower before hugging my children or talking to my husband,” Galletta explained. “I think having a vaccine gives us hope that we’re finally getting a handle on this.”

Dr. Galletta is among the first frontline workers to get the vaccine at UMass Medical School. Given the toll she’s seen the virus take on her patients, one as young as 25, she says any minor discomfort is worth it.

READ MORE: Allegiant Airplane Blows Out Tire After Rough Landing At Logan

“I feel fine actually,” Galletta said after getting the vaccine. “There’s a little bit of soreness in my arm. I’d rate it as a one out of 10.”

Dr. Gayle Galletta (WBZ-TV)

Nothing that would slow her down. Dr. Galletta just worked her first shift at the DCU Center field hospital, another meaningful experience in a very painful time.

“2020 is going to go down in history because of this pandemic,” Galletta said. “We’ve never in our lifetimes seen anything like it and hopefully we won’t again.”

MORE NEWS: Thousands Honor Slain Danvers Teacher Colleen Ritzer At Annual 5K In Andover

As the mother of three teenagers, she knows how hard the pandemic is on everyone, but she says, until the vaccine is widely available, don’t let down your guard.

Lisa Hughes