NEW ORLEANS — Health care workers are among the first people getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which puts them in an unusual place: instead of giving the shot, they are getting stuck.
WGNO’s Teaching Doctor Dr. Rachel Reitan spoke with some health care workers as they got the vaccine at Touro Infirmary.
“I was a nurse before I went to medical school, so the patient experience is so important to me,” says Dr. Rachel. “One of my colleagues, Dr. Davis, has volunteered to be our patient. So, we are going to give him the injection. And, then we are going to follow him several days afterwards for side effects or any adverse reactions.”
“I think it is important that as we offer this medication, or this vaccine, to our population, that if we are going to be offering and talking to them and discussing about the risk and benefits, that we have first hand exposure as first line health care providers,” says Dr. Jay Davis, who specializes in maternal fetal medicine. “Also, being an African American, I think it is important because there are a lot of hesitancies out there, a lot of reservations about vaccinations. So, I also wanted to be on that front line of hopefully motivating patients in the African American community about the importance of being vaccinated.”
This first round of vaccinations is a chance for hospitals like Touro to use all of its protocals for receiving, handling, storing, and preparing the vaccine.
“We received a total of 90 vials of vaccine in super-cold storage and put that immediately in a cold storage refrigerator we have here,” says Dr. Chris Lege, chief medical officer at Touro. “When we remove a vile from the freezer, that vile is stable for 4-5 days. Once we dilute the vial to prepare the doses for patients, at that point, the vaccine is only stable for six hours.”
Dr. Rachel also spoke with labor and delivery nurse Yvette Luster. “I feel it’s important, working in the health profession, that we protect ourselves and our patients, and, being that it is available for us to get it, that we should do it.”
Davis and Luster told Dr. Rachel that the shot didn’t hurt and was similar to the flu shot. Dr. Rachel will check up on both of them to see if they develop any side effects.