By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
On the eve of St. Charles receiving its first COVID vaccine shipment, a local nurse shared her excitement about the next stage in Central Oregon’s effort to end the pandemic.
Nurse Ashley, who asked us not to use her last name, is on the front lines, helping patients battle the Coronavirus.
“To be there without their loved ones is really hard and It’s hard for the loved ones to not be able to be there with them,” Ashley said. “I think that has been the hardest thing.”
St. Charles will get 975 doses of the vaccine on Thursday and expects to start vaccinating workers with the highest potential for direct contact with the virus on Monday.
“It’s been really sad to see how sick the patients have gotten and for me, I want to be able to protect them better and so I am pretty passionate about it,” Nurse Ashley said about taking the vaccine.
The Oregon nurses association, which represents about 1,000 nurses at St. Charles called the vaccine’s arrival a “sign of hope.”
“COVID-19 vaccinations have the potential to save countless lives in Oregon and across the world,” said Kevin Mealy, ONA’s communications manager. “This is a historic moment but there’s still more work to be done. We encourage all Oregonians to continue wearing your mask, washing your hands and keeping socially-distanced while the state continues working towards an equitable vaccine distribution plan. Your actions are saving lives. Your nurses thank you.”
But not everybody in the medical profession is as passionate as Ashley and the ONA are.
“Some are excited about it and some have some hesitancy,” she said.
St. Charles has about 4,500 employees and a recent survey of the entire staff showed about 10-15% had no plans to get the vaccine.
But nearly all of the hospital’s medical staff of roughly 800 plan to get the vaccine.
Ashley said even with the vaccine, there’s a long way to go.
“It will still take a while before we, you know have immunity,” Ashley said. “Being patient for that is going to be difficult.”
She doesn’t want anyone to rush back to normalcy quite yet.
“Just be careful, be safe, be well and bring in the new year healthy,” she said.
Everyone who gets the Pfizer vaccine will need to take a second dose 21 days after.