A student at the University of New Hampshire who has worked at Portsmouth Regional Hospital for the past two years is among the first in New Hampshire to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, according to the university website.

Hannah Sorenson, a junior, works as a phlebotomist at the hospital and as part of her job is responsible for drawing the blood of patients in the emergency room, considered the type of direct contact with individuals in a health-care setting that places her in the first round of vaccine recipients.

Sorenson is slated to receive her first vaccine injection on Thursday, the website said.

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“Personally, I think this vaccine is a huge step forward and I am so fortunate to have this opportunity to receive it," Sorenson told the university website. "I know it has a lot of controversies right now, but one of the most critical factors in this vaccine is simply educating the public.

"The main reason I chose to receive it is so that I can confidently do my part in keeping others safe and healthy.”

The website said Sorenson also works as a lab assistant where she receives and distributes specimens while ensuring the lab runs smoothly. She works weekends during the school year, per the website, rotating between the 5 a.m. morning shift and 11 a.m. day shift and picking up more hours during the summer months.

“It also kept me mindful to be diligent about wearing a mask and social distancing to help combat the spread,” Sorensen said via the website. “One of my favorite parts of working in a hospital is that everyone works together as a team towards the common goal of providing the best care for our patients. To provide the best care, we have to make sure our staff is educated and safe.”

Sorenson also encouraged people to educate themselves about the vaccine whether or not they have concerns about receiving it.

“These times have not been easy on any of us," Sorenson told the website. "We, as U.S. citizens, have the freedom of choice. The best thing anyone can do regarding this vaccine is to properly educate themselves on what it entails, and then make their own decision.”

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