CONYERS, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — The first five Piedmont Newton and Rockdale healthcare workers were more than ready to roll up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine on December 17, 2020.

“This is my way of supporting my co-workers also,  the nurses in the ER and the nurses in the ICU,” said Shannan Browning, a staff nurse.

“My wife is pregnant at home, and this is one more thing I can do to protect my family,” said Medical Transporter Thomas Wardlow.

“I have three boys at home, and I do not want to take that to them,” said Surgical Nurse Assistant Jennifer Gilmore, regarding the virus.

Health officials say both science and research show the vaccine is safe. Workers hope to encourage the hard-hit African American community, where there are concerns about another potential Tuskegee Experiment scenario.

“Just us being out here and setting the example and showing that it’s safe, it’s just like the flu vaccine, it will help us,” said General Surgeon Dr. Gayla Dillard.

They’re also working to ease the minds of all skeptics.

“What’s really important for us as healthcare providers is to educate those people,” said Employee Health and Safety Eastside Area Manager Lauren Moore.

Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey shared similar messages at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and Dr. Toomey received the vaccine.

“We’re just grateful for all these folks that are on the front lines of the healthcare fight against COVID-19,” Kemp said.

Officials say it’s the next step in the long road ahead.