Tertiary hospital nursing staff look forward to the COVID-19 vaccine
Mary Ann Dubru-Shunmugam, Deputy Nursing Manager at Groote Schuur Hospital, will be taking the COVID vaccine because she values her health and mental wellbeing having recovered from COVID-19 pneumonia two weeks ago.
Healthcare workers are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and illness. That is why they have been prioritised to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it will be administered in the coming months. Just because healthcare workers are among those first in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, it doesn’t necessarily mean they all will.
Mary Anne is one of those healthcare workers who is driven by concern about risk to herself, her family, and her patients. “I do not want to be this sick again. Being asthmatic, I was very worried about my chest. I had this overwhelming tiredness, breathing difficulties and could not taste anything. It was a really tough experience for me and what got me through this was the support from my family, friends and colleagues,” said Mary Anne, who is looking forward to receiving the vaccine, which has been tested many times to ensure safety.
Describing the impact that COVID-19 has had on her life and work, Mary Anne says the whole experience has made her pause and re-evaluate her priorities in life, which include her family and personal health. “COVID-19 is real. We need to unite to help ourselves and each other by voluntarily taking the vaccine,” is her message to members of the public who may be hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
For Rhonda Brian, a registered nurse at Tygerberg Hospital, the vaccine could not have come sooner. “I will be taking the vaccine because I hope that this will solve a global problem. When I tested positive with COVID-19 last year and experienced mild symptoms, I was scared because, as a single mother, my concern was for the safety of my three-year-old daughter. Many people still have uncertainties and doubts about the vaccine, and misinformation on social media is contributing to the confusion. If too few of us choose to get vaccinated, more people get sick.”
Protecting healthcare workers is a high priority. Achieving high COVID-19 vaccine uptake among healthcare workers will not only protect these critical staff members, it will also support high levels of uptake among the general public. That will benefit all of us.
Byron la Hoe
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