I’ve had a really interesting career, and it has felt really great to be back caring for people, providing immunizations at the RBC Convention Centre.
I was a nurse for 45 years. I started off working in the ER at St. Boniface Hospital. I taught nursing in Prince George, and Red Deer, but eventually returned to Winnipeg where I enjoyed working as a Clinical Instructor at the U of M, for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and for CancerCare at the Cervical Cancer Screening Program.
However, my favourite and last position was as a Primary Care Nurse at Access River East. While there, we offered various immunizations to clients of all ages.
So when the call came for people to administer COVID-19 shots, I was happy to answer.
Most people I meet at the immunization clinic are excited to finally get their shot. But I also have friends/family who are so nervous about getting the vaccine, they’re considering not getting immunized at all or waiting. I’ve talked with them about the science behind the vaccine. I always say ‘follow the science.’ Read what the experts are saying; doctors & reliable online sources, and then go read alternative ideas. But ground your opinion in science.
I’ll tell you a little secret. I’ve actually had a fear of needles since I was a kid. So, I work hard to put people at ease who are also afraid of needles. I was actually more nervous of the vaccine needles than the vaccine itself. And so when I was offered the vaccine as part of the job at the clinic, it was a bitter sweet thing.
I’m happy to report the needles really didn’t hurt that much, and I’d even go so far as to say the second shot was the best needle I’ve ever had with no pain at all.
After I got the first vaccine shot, I felt like I had a little bit of freedom in my life. I didn’t need to be worried every second that I was going to catch the virus. I also felt a little guilty though, because I felt like I was getting ahead of others who needed it more, but I guess with my job I did truly need it.
After the second shot I felt joyful, it was just awesome! I thought ‘I’m done, I got it, I’m covered!’ I can see my daughter and granddaughter again. It was very liberating.
With the first shot I had no side effects. After the second shot I felt a little light headed. By the next day, my muscles were achy and sore. But I took a Tylenol and rested, and by the next day I felt perfectly fine – 100% normal!
So that achiness is one of the side effects you might get from any vaccine. It’s my body recognizing something new has arrived, and it’s putting energy into building immunity to it. For me, I felt the effects for only a day and a half. For others, symptoms can be milder to more severe and can last for a shorter or longer time.
What I would say to others who are hesitant about getting the vaccine?
It’s worth it!