As a Registered Nurse, I was vaccinated in January at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. When I received my first dose of the vaccine, I was very excited, but a little nervous too, because we were among the first in Manitoba to be vaccinated. I know Health Canada has very strict policies before any vaccine is ever approved for distribution, and that helped to assure me that the vaccine is safe.
I felt great after my first dose of the vaccine. When I had my second shot, I developed chills and felt like I was going to get sick, but it was nothing that couldn’t be managed with a hot cup of tea, Advil and going to bed early. I felt great the next day. Now, fully vaccinated, I feel more protected against this virus and relieved that I’m protecting people that I love and care about. I found the vaccination process to be very well organized. The vaccination staff work hard to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.
At Cancer Care, I’m the Brachytherapy nurse on the radiation floor and in the Manitoba Prostate Center. I treat gynecological and prostate cancer and as you can well imagine treatments are very personal and can be quite invasive. Before the pandemic, patients would typically have a spouse or support person come with them for the procedures. Now these patients walk through our doors alone. It’s very stressful for some of my patients, they’re very emotional, with lots of crying. It’s very emotional for me, too. I always think, what would I want if I were undergoing this treatment? How can I make this experience better for my patient? I know I would want my partner to walk through the doors with me, so in turn, more than ever, I try to be the patient’s support person.
I’m hopeful though. I know that if enough people get vaccinated that we’ll slow and stop the spread of COVID. For me, this means that we’ll be able to allow support people and spouses to walk through those doors with our patients. If you ever had to experience healthcare during this pandemic, my heart goes out to you because I know how hard it is.
Last spring I lost my Mom at the start of the pandemic, which put added emotional stress on my family. Because of COVID-19 we had to wait to have the funeral and when it did happen we had to limit the number of people attending. I never thought in my life we would have to make a guest list for a funeral—that’s something you do for a wedding.
Recently it was my husband’s turn to get vaccinated. We were so excited and relieved. This is a major step to seeing our family and friends again. We can’t wait to have our grandchildren come for sleepovers and to the lake on weekends, to have a meal with our friends, and to hug again! We haven’t been able to do that for a very long time.
For people who are hesitant to get vaccinated, I would say hesitancy is normal. I get it, but I also know that when we are up against a global pandemic, we have to fight it on a global scale. Think of every person who is doing their part to end this pandemic.
Growing up, with every vaccination that we got as children, there was some risk, but our parents never hesitated. They trusted the vaccines to keep us safe, healthy and protected. Today, we need to trust that this vaccine is also going to work. We’re seeing evidence of it around the world. It reduces the spread of the COVID virus and protects lives.
I am excited for the rest of my family and friends to receive their vaccinations and can only hope that all Manitobans sign up. My new catch phrase – ‘Get the vax so we can all relax!’