PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It has been a grueling year for millions of people, but local doctors said they see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines rolled out in the United States.

Doctors with OSF HealthCare and UnityPoint Central Illinois said we are another step closer to eradicating the virus that shook the nation.

“…A historic moment that really gives us the light at the end of the tunnel to begin the work that it takes to defeat this COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Stephen Hippler, chief clinical officer with OSF HealthCare said.

…Hopefully, the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 crisis that we’re all suffering from right now and it’s giving us all a ray of hope.

Dr. John Miller, Vice President of Medical Affairs with UnityPoint Health Central Illinois

Dr. Hippler applauds scientists and researchers for delivering the vaccine in record time.

“As more and more people get vaccinated we’ll start to see immunity build in our population and slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Although vaccine production and distribution was expedited Dr. Miller said he trusts the science.

“I think it was done appropriately, I think it went through all the checks and balances,” he said. “I feel very comfortable getting the vaccine at this time.”

In 2021, Dr. Miller hopes to see a dramatic decline in coronavirus cases, as people get vaccinated and herd immunity.

Dr. Hippler said overcoming the pandemic will not be a miracle. He is encouraging people to get vaccinated and to be diligent in the following months.

“Even though we’re all tired of some of the restrictions that have been put in place, I think we need to continue to double down on distancing, hand washing and masking even for those who have received the vaccine,” he said.

Tuesday, vaccines will be administered to HealthCare workers at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria at 11 a.m.

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