VICENZA, Italy – When Maj. Sean O’Brien injected a needle of the COVID-19 vaccine into Ashley Reinhold’s left arm Friday, the registered nurse barely winced.In fact, under her mask, she smiled.“I wasn’t nervous at all, mainly excited,” said Reinhold, 26, of Georgetown, Texas, an Army spouse of an active-duty Soldier at Caserma Ederle. “It was different, having everyone looking at you being the first one. But, I’m excited to be one step closer to protection against COVID-19.”Reinhold was the first of several frontline workers at U.S. Army Garrison Italy to receive a coronavirus vaccination. O’Brien, a pharmacy officer from Revere, Mass., was preparing for moment for weeks. Once the first vaccinations were underway, he paused for a moment to find his words.“It’s a great feeling overall,” O’Brien said. “It’s a lot of different emotions, from happiness and feeling overwhelmed to feeling like we are taking care of our team who has been on the front lines.”Mindful of social distancing, people peered in to witness the historic moment, in a second floor room at the U.S. Army Health Center – Vicenza. Among those watching was Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, commander of U.S. Army Southern European Task Force-Africa.Mark Mollner, 51, a family nurse practitioner from Williamsburg, Va., also received the vaccine. Last year, Mollner’s teenage daughter was away at college when COVID-19 struck, sending her to the hospital. She recovered and has not lasting effects, Mollner said.“I’m doing this to protect the people around me,” said Mollner, whose wife is in a high-risk category.Healthcare workers like Mollner also see firsthand how people react to the virus. Seeing the vaccines underway, Moller reflected on how COVID-19 has affected the community.“I’ve seen the spectrum, from people simple losing smell to being put in the hospital. Some are young and some are old,” Mollner said. “It’s a roll of the dice on the experience you’re going to have.”Mollner is grateful to see the Italian community taking COVID-19 restrictions seriously and credits Italian healthcare professionals, who also support the U.S. military when American COVID-19 patients require higher levels of care, he said.Locally, the health center is carrying out the Department of Defensescalable vaccine distribution and administration plan through a deliberate and coordinated strategy. As in the States, priorities for vaccinating military members overseas began with front-line healthcare workers and first responders.The first 10 vaccines included members of the respiratory care team, followed by the health center commander, Lt. Col. Joe Matthews and his command team. Military police and firefighters from the Darby Military Community were also vaccinated. Everyone who received the vaccine will return in early February for a follow-up shot.Later, when the time comes for the larger distribution of the vaccine, the military is encouraging eligible personnel to take the vaccine to protect their health, as well as their loved ones, units and communities.“This is a momentous occasion for everyone in the clinic and everyone in the community,” Matthews said. “It’s a great step forward. This will go down in history as a great accomplishment for the human race.”