From the moment I knew I was eligible for the vaccine I was eager to book my appointment. I felt very comfortable with the idea and really didn’t have any anxiety about it at all. Being a nurse, the current position I am in and where I work have a lot to do with that. I am the Director of Quality, Patient Safety, Policies and Guidelines at CancerCare Manitoba. Infection control is part of the work I help support, so COVID-19 has been front and centre for me for a long time now.
I remember when COVID hit and everyone in healthcare knew the work moving forward was going to look very different. We were dealing with so many unknowns and just trying to prepare for whatever was going to come our way.
At CancerCare Manitoba, our patients are battling cancer and blood disorders which can make them more vulnerable to contracting infections than the general population, and their ability to fight off infections can be quite compromised. That has made ensuring our patients are safe through managing COVID-19 at CancerCare Manitoba a huge priority for us.
On a personal note, my family and I have definitely felt the impact of the pandemic this past year. My son is 10 years-old and an only child, so restricting his access to friends has been hard as that’s his only outlet to connect in-person with other kids. Plus, we had a close family member contract COVID around Christmas time; they live alone which made it even harder, so we ended up doing regular grocery and food deliveries left outside their door, doing lots of check-ins and drive-by waves. She’s doing well now and has now received her first vaccination.
Because of what I do, and eligibility for health care workers, I feel very fortunate to have received both my vaccinations. I got my first dose in early March and everything went quite smoothly. That was a day of real celebration for me and my family, and it only took about an hour. It was an interesting experience because you could feel everyone was there for the same reason – to do whatever we can to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and everyone around us safe. I remember chatting with the person who gave me the shot and talking about our roles as health care professionals in what has been such a challenging time.
My second dose did take quite a bit longer than the first but that was because the staff were working through some new protocols, and kept everyone well informed along the way. It was great to see how they were prioritizing the seniors that day, so I didn’t mind the wait. As for side-effects, I had a bit of a sore arm from the first dose and after the second it was the same plus a mild achy feeling for a few hours.
For me, I’m now looking forward to the day when my husband and son can get vaccinated too. We don’t have any hesitancy at all about it and I’d encourage anyone who does to talk to their health care provider, inform themselves the best they can, and use reliable sources of information to make a well informed decision.