ROCHESTER -- It's been a busy and stressful eight months for health care workers across the country, and while a COVID-19 vaccine is being shipped out across the country, frontline workers know their work isn't done.

A panel of Mayo Clinic employees shared their perspectives Tuesday afternoon on how the last several months have been.

Aimee Boerger is a Lab Technician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and helped develop the SARS-COV-2 test. She says since the pandemic, the volume of laboratory testing they've done has dramatically increased.

Prior to COVID we did about 40,000 to 50,000 tests per month, and we are still doing those same tests in our lab, but on top of that we are also doing 80,000 to 100,000 COVID tests as well.

Boerger says she views the COVID-19 vaccine as a light at the end of this long tunnel.

Earlier Tuesday, the first doses of the vaccine were administered to healthcare workers at the Minneapolis VA.

Heidi Leibold is an infusion center nurse from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She says while she plans to get the vaccine when available to her, she understands while the general public may be hesitant.

I know there is a lot of hesitation in getting something that was developed very quickly, but I do trust in the science. I'm ready like everyone else to get back to normal and I think this is a great step in getting us there.

Health care workers encourage Minnesotans to not let down their guard just yet as they enter this next phase in fighting the coronavirus.

Governor Tim Walz has said it may be spring or summer before the vaccine may be available to the general public.

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