A gaggle of journalists gathers around a tent outside the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. With cameras, cords and microphones flailing, a curious hawk perched upon a nearby rooftop peers down at the crowd.
Inside the tent on this cold December day, 34-year-old Shemika Champion appears calm, even though a flurry of flashes surrounds her as a needle protrudes about an inch away from her arm.
"I'm just saying a little prayer to myself and getting ready," says Champion.
A Lowcountry First
The pediatric nurse volunteered to become the first front-line health care worker in the Lowcountry to get the newly approved Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The hospital's initial shipment arrived just two hours ago.
Champion sits still as her exposed upper arm is swabbed. On the count of three, the onlookers lean in as the vaccine slowly plunges, into her skin. Like a champion, she doesn't flinch. There's a huge applause.
"I can't stop smiling about it," she gushes afterwards.