ST. LOUIS – A COVID-19 vaccine could be available in the Show Me State by mid-December. On Tuesday, the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13 to 1 to first give available vaccines to health care personnel and long-term care residents.
Three frontline workers with SSM Health said they were all excited to roll up their sleeves and be the first to get it.
“I might push somebody out of the way to get it,” said Cindy Wood, COVID Unit Charge Nurse for SSM Health. “I definitely want to get the vaccine. I have not watched my grandmother play with my children in a couple of months since March. We completely isolate from her and we used to see her at least once a week, so I’m very excited to maybe get back to that soon.”
“I am a huge advocate for it,” said Mindy Corder, an ICU charge nurse said. “I have been waiting for it, I absolutely will be first in line. I’ve already filled out my documentation so that I can get it.”
Many health care workers are counting down the days until they can get the COVID-19 vaccine and hope it will bring back a sense of normalcy.
“I hope that a lot of people get it, because I like my Cardinals and I want to go back to a Cardinals game,” Wood said. “The more people get the vaccine, the more I can go to my Cardinals games, the more I can have my kids back in sports and gymnastics and doing the things they love to do and, as a parent, there’s nothing better than watching joy in your kid’s face. So please get the vaccine.”
These frontline workers have been putting themselves at risk for months and now want this shot to keep them and their families protected. Some said this will even change the way they greet their families when they get off work.
“It would just be nice to be able to come home, walk through the door and give your kids a hug without stop. You know, mommy’s home, I need to shower and change,” Corder said.
She said there are some frontline workers that may be more skeptical about receiving the vaccine first, but the overall feeling is excitement.
Meanwhile, SSM Health pharmacist Jon Lapinski said there is nothing to really be concerned about.
“In the medical field, we’re always looking at risk versus benefit, whenever we look at something, fortunately, the risk could not be much lower,” he said. “And the benefits are pretty massive. The benefit is getting back to life as usual, it’s protecting the most vulnerable among us.”
But no matter how soon the vaccine can get to Missouri, normal still seems to be a bit far away as these frontline workers, like many, are dealing with heartbreaks day after day.
“We’re having to deal with a lot more death than we have in a while and it takes its toll and we don’t have enough people,” Wood said. “So it’s very hard, and it’s very hard to keep spirits up.”
SSM Health St. Joseph West – Lake St. Louis is already getting its own workplace ready for the first shipment to arrive.
“We have everything in place now to be able to actually receive those,” Lapinski said. “The logistics are all being worked out that we’ll be ready to actually provide them to the patients.”
Health care workers said as soon as the vaccine comes out, people will still need to wear masks and social distance until more people have received the vaccine.