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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Gov. DeWine, First Lady Receive COVID Vaccine

mike dewine coronavirus shot
Courtesy of the Governor's Office
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine receives his first dose of the Pfzier coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife, first lady Fran DeWine, received the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine Tuesday at the Kettering Health Network Rural Health Center in Jamestown. At age 74 and 73, respectively, both are eligible for the shot, according to the state's vaccination rollout plan. Currently, those age 70 and older can sign up to get inoculated.

Dr. Kevin Sharrett gave the vaccine to the DeWines, insisting that "house rules, ladies go first." 

"I'm ready," Fran DeWine responded.

fran dewine coronavirus shot
Credit Courtesy of the Governor's Office
First lady Fran DeWine receives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

As Dr. Sharrett gave her the injection, he said the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and 100% effective in preventing serious illness. 

As he moved on to the governor, Dr. Sharrett said after about 12 days of the first dose, the protection of the vaccine goes up at 60-70% and one week after the second dose of the vaccine - roughly 21 days after the first - is when a patient receives "the peak immunity of 95 percent."

The vaccine also covers variants of the coronavirus, he said. 

He said after the first shot, the couple may experience some soreness and redness at the injection site. There's also the possibility of having a low-grade fever and some body aches, but he said, "that is not a negative, that's a positive. That indicates that your immune system is intact and the vaccine is doing what it is expected to do and your immune system is responding properly."

When it was over, both DeWines got a lollipop.

Before receiving his shot, DeWine asked the doctor what he tells those skeptical of the vaccine. 

Dr. Sharrett responded that the vaccine is "extremely safe."

"The number one question I'm faced with is, 'I'm afraid of this vaccine,' " he said. "'I'm afraid it's new. It's been developed very quickly; I'm concerned about side effects; I'm concerned about long term effects;' the list goes on and on. ... I tell patients this: at the end of the day, you have to decide - am I safer with the vaccine or am I safer with the virus?"

He said if you aren't vaccinated, sooner or later you will catch the virus "because it's not going to go away." 

"In my mind, the decision is very straightforward and very clear," he said. 

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor.