Seattle woman first in US to receive COVID-19 trial dose honored to play role in vaccine

Jennifer Haller of Seattle didn't know what to expect when she became the first person in the United States to receive a test shot of an experimental coronavirus vaccine, just days after we learned our lives were radically changing due to a pandemic. 

Haller, a married mother of two teenagers and technology professional, was the first person in this country to get a test dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine back in March of 2020. 

This week, the federal government plans to send out 6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine nationwide, as part of Operation Warp Speed. That’s twice as many doses as were planned for Pfizer’s first week.

According to the state, Washington should get 128,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.

"It’s unbelievable. I’m so excited that I got a chance to be a part of this," Haller said. "It’s thankfulness, honestly, that there was something that I could do." 

The 44-year-old said her family and friends are very proud of her, as her name and image have popped up in news stories around the nation. 

So far, more than 550,000 Americans have received their first coronavirus vaccine shots, with those people getting the Pfizer vaccine.

Health officials say the Moderna vaccine should be easier to distribute because it does not require storage at ultra-cold temperatures like Pfizer’s.

As for side effects, Haller said, "I personally, only experienced soreness at the site of injection after both shots. I didn’t have any other side effects." 

A CDC advisory panel is recommending people 75 years of age and older and essential workers should be next in line for the vaccine. Those include grocery store workers,  firefighters, police officers, and teachers.

But the vaccine will only protect the public if 70% to 80% of Americans get it. 

"If you want to protect yourself, you want to protect your family, and you want to protect your community, I would highly encourage you doing this," Haller said. 

A message from a woman willing to risk her own health, so we can all move past this pandemic.