Rhonda Moore Johnson, MD, MPH
2 min readFeb 12, 2021

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Today I Became A Statistic…But That’s Not All

Getting my 1st Covid-19 Vaccine

Today, I became a statistic. I joined the 33 million Americans who have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Like many, I felt an enormous amount of relief. I also felt extremely grateful to not be amongst the over 460,000 dead, for amongst those included friends, relatives of friends, and extended family members. I felt thankful for all of the decisions made to sacrifice social events, dining out, and canceled vacations.

Since the pandemic, I have done lot of community education on Covid-19 prevention and Covid-19 vaccines so I was grateful for the opportunity to ‘practice what I preach’ — to get whatever Covid-19 vaccine you can get when it’s your time in the line. Amazingly, unexpected community connections occurred through none other than my mother and I was able to get a vaccine today upon very short notice.

I am no stranger to the community where I received my ‘shot in the arm.’ The hospital, now UPMC Southside, was the former home of the Southside Hospital, where I was born. And, it was at this very site, at the age of fourteen, that I decided to become a physician, while participating in a community program to expose inner-city youth to health careers. I spent two summers between my freshman and sophomore undergraduate years at Harvard working at what is now UPMC Southside, as the Summer Coordinator for the Health Careers program, shuttling back and forth between the Southside Hospital and the former St. Joseph’s Hospital.

My Covid-19 vaccination today felt like a monumental moment partly because it reminded me of all of the hardships so many endured this past year; and because I thought of the changes that have taken place in my life across decades…how I got to what I have become today. To the many volunteers and staff at UPMC Southside, I am very grateful — it was a very organized vaccination event. Yes, I did get a ‘shot of hope’ today. But that’s not all — today, I paused to reflect, remember and feel all of those emotions.

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Rhonda Moore Johnson, MD, MPH

Dr. Rhonda Moore Johnson is an award-winning medical professional, author, social media influencer and educator. She is a health equity champion.