When the pandemic suddenly became a reality for Manitobans in March of 2020, I was in Mexico, blissfully unaware of the impending shutdown of life as we knew it. I was fortunate to get back into Canada prior to flights being cancelled worldwide, and then proceeded to self-isolate for two weeks to ensure I wasn’t inadvertently spreading COVID-19.
I had recently retired from a career in healthcare, the last number of years spent as an RN with a role in staff education and infection prevention. My goal post-retirement had been to travel and spend time with my family and friends. Now the pandemic has quickly rearranged my priorities to that of ensuring I am safe, and that my loved ones remain safe.
When the second wave intensified last fall and the call went out for retired nurses to consider re-entering the workforce to assist with the pandemic effort, I applied for my temporary RN license and submitted my application to Shared Health. I began work as an immunizer at the RBC Convention Centre in mid-January.
My motivation for joining the pandemic response was multi-faceted. As an RN, I felt an ethical obligation to assist with the effort. As a thwarted traveller, I wanted to expedite the immunization process so I could resume my international explorations. As a human on the planet, (and mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, neighbour, friend, etc.), I needed to know I had done everything I could to curb the impact of this virus during this truly historic time.
The overwhelming response I receive from those whom I have just vaccinated is gratitude. They are thankful to have been prioritized for receipt of the vaccine based on their risk of contracting COVID-19, and feel a sense of relief knowing they are now less likely to get the virus or spread the virus.
I would like to encourage everyone to do what they can to help end this pandemic.
One very important part of beating COVID is getting the vaccine as soon as you’re eligible. The vaccines have been scientifically proven to be effective and safe and are helping to save many lives.
The harm this virus is causing is not only physical; it is also affecting everyone emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and economically. For me, I need to be able to respond with integrity when my grandchild, years from now, asks me what I did to help end the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21!