The following is contributed by Infection Prevention and Control Consultant (RN) Ruth Barrett –
I am 61 years old, a practicing nurse and recently I had a little celebration. I received my 2nd COVID-19 vaccination from a lovely team in Ashburton Hospital in Canterbury.
I feel like celebrating because I have played a small part towards helping New Zealand (and the world) fight this pandemic and get it under control. By having the vaccine, I am helping to keep my whanau and friends safe from catching the virus from me if I get infected, especially if I don’t have any symptoms. It also means I am happier to continue to look after vulnerable people, knowing I won’t be passing on the virus. It is reassuring to know that the vaccine will stop me getting really sick and ending up in hospital or worse. So, if we do have another large outbreak, my hospital bed can go to someone else.
We are lucky in New Zealand to have access to a vaccine that is very safe and very effective, and recent reports show that it is also works against the new variants that are out there.
I was a little nervous about getting the second dose and how I would feel afterwards. Although I have the influenza vaccine every year without any side effects, this time I needed two jabs. But in the end it was all good – I only needed two paracetamols about 6 hours later, had a good sleep, and then, apart from a sore arm for a day and a half, I felt fine.
Of course, I know that vaccinations are not the only thing that keeps us safe – all our public health measures and infection prevention and control activities are just as important. But if you are a healthcare worker, a parent, a partner, a friend, a child, a sibling, a grandchild or other, you can make a difference in your community by having the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ruth Barratt RN, BSc, MAdvPrac (Hons), CICP-E
Infection Prevention and Control Consultant
Christchurch, New Zealand