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Vaccine of Hope

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jeastridge jeastridge, BSN, RN (Trusted Brand)

Specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

What can nurses do to help others get vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine has brought with it a much-needed dose of hope. As nurses, what can we do to help direct our patients, friends and family to correct information about how to get the vaccine.

Vaccine of Hope

Brimming with Hope

In December as many of us stood in line with other health care workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, we were brimming with hope, some of us were even moved to tears at the prospect of seeing this scourge of disease and destruction drawing to an end. Two months later, we continue to see hopeful signs with the infections and deaths decreasing, but the pace has been much slower than we would have liked, and the reality of vaccinating a country full of people has been sobering. Along with the logistics of putting a needle in an arm, we have also confronted supply, transportation and weather issues.

Vaccine Meets Expectations / Distribution Fumbles

The vaccine appears to be all that was promised: 95% effective after the second dose and curbing transmission even after the first. However, the slowness of the national response coupled with state-to-state and even county-to-county differences in procedures have left the public bewildered and distrustful. Many have said that each state is like its own country, so divergent are the approaches in vaccination policies and procedures. The categories—divided and subdivided—proceed at a variety of rates, producing vaccinated teachers in one county but not in another, and efficiently protecting 65+-year-olds on one side of a state line two weeks before the 65+-year-olds on the other. Though these differences may seem insignificant, to those who are waiting daily for the dose, the differences can add confusion and anxiety to a time when those emotions are already heightened.

Nurses' Role - Providing Accurate Information

As nurses, we can be an important part of the process of imparting accurate vaccination information to those around us. Whether we work in a hospital, office or community setting, there are reasons why our patients need accurate and up-to-date information about where and when they can get the vaccine. As professionals, we have an opportunity to stay informed and provide help as needed whether it is on the job or even in our social media and personal community interactions.

How can we keep current?

CDC

The CDC site is the gold-standard for the latest on vaccinations and eligibility. At CDC.gov nurses and other professionals can get the latest on research and unfolding vaccine information. Most recent information includes how we can mask better to protect ourselves and others, information about the new COVID-19 variants, and information about how to re-open schools safely.

Your state’s website

Most states are pulling together information and posting it on their websites routinely. Check out the website and the facebook page and set tabs to follow these sites regularly.

County websites and facebook posts

In our area, the county has done a good job of posting changes and notices about availability and location. They also post more current event notices such as advising people when there are no lines at vaccination sites, on their social media platform. These have been highly effective ways of getting the word out to the community, although our elders and those without ready internet access continue to require help getting the information.

Individuals dedicated to compiling and posting new information

In our area, we have several groups and individuals who have made it a personal mission to check out all the sources of vaccines, including new pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, doctor’s offices, health departments. They are also posting and re-posting helpful websites and sign-up apps. Doing some searches online can produce helpful results and shortcut the work that nurses must do to provide accurate and concise information.

Share/repeat/listen

We have an opportunity to be helpful during this pandemic. We can be a part of bringing this sad episode that has already taken the lives of 500,000 Americans, to a close. By sharing helpful information and re-sharing, we can be part of what brings order out of some of the chaos. As professional nurses, we are part of the trusted community of providers. We are “go-to” people. When we share and repeat and then listen for feedback, we can gain valuable information to disseminate to the public.

With over 63 million in the US already vaccinated and probably another 50 million (at least) who have had COVID and have some temporary immunity, we are poised for success in the battle against COVID-19. With over 100 million already having some immunity, we are well on our way to seeing our population of 330 million obtain protection and returning to more normalcy. We have hope that the rate of vaccination will accelerate over the months of March, April and May as procedures are smoothed out and weather disruptions subside. As nurses, we can help make that happen by sharing what we know, combating misinformation, and re-sharing accurate updates. We are agents of help and hope in this war against disease.

What has been your experience with the vaccine?

If you have been a part of the process of administration and coordination, what lessons/stories can you share with us?

Joy is a Faith Community Nurse. She has been a nurse for many years and worked in a variety of settings/specialties.

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6 Comment(s)

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

@jeastridge, thanks for this informative article. Yes, the vaccine certainly is giving hope to many.

jeastridge, BSN, RN

Specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

Thank you, Mary! Yes, there is an end in sight! Joy

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

I have been volunteering as a vaccinator. It's been awesome! So many grateful people, and my county is doing a fabulous job with online appointments as well as regular phone scheduling for appointments for people without internet. Very smooth. After a horrible experience with everyone showing up at once and a 6-hour waiting line that saw eligible people turned away at the end of the day, they started making appointments. We have three vaccine sites. The larger site has 70+ appointments per 30 minute block, the smaller ones have 50 to 60. They rotate between being first dose and second dose sites. Volunteers are eligible to receive the vaccine at the end of the day. 

jeastridge, BSN, RN

Specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

11 hours ago, Pixie.RN said:

I have been volunteering as a vaccinator. It's been awesome! So many grateful people, and my county is doing a fabulous job with online appointments as well as regular phone scheduling for appointments for people without internet. Very smooth. After a horrible experience with everyone showing up at once and a 6-hour waiting line that saw eligible people turned away at the end of the day, they started making appointments. We have three vaccine sites. The larger site has 70+ appointments per 30 minute block, the smaller ones have 50 to 60. They rotate between being first dose and second dose sites. Volunteers are eligible to receive the vaccine at the end of the day. 

This is great and an ideal version of the county's response to a problem. Kudos to your leaders! Their ability to identify a problem, listen, and respond is a gift to your area. Joy

There are no long term safety or efficacy data available.

jeastridge, BSN, RN

Specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

43 minutes ago, Daisy Joyce said:

There are no long term safety or efficacy data available.

You are right. At this point we are still learning as we go. But COVID-19 has already proven itself to be a formidable and rapidly changing opponent. From the data we have at this point, the mRNA vaccine is highly effective and has minimal side effects. For those who don't want to go that route, the J & J is just over the horizon and it was created on a more "traditional" vaccine platform (like the regular flu shot). So that is another option for those that have concerns. But, after giving it careful consideration, I took the Pfizer because, for me, the dangers posed by COVID-19 simply transcended any measure of concern.