For Community Care Durham’s Caroline Sutherland the wait for the COVID-19 vaccine was worth it.
Caroline received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on March 4 at the Chestnut Hill Development Recreation Complex in Pickering. After months of advocacy by CEO James Meloche, CCD front-line staffers were given priority to receive the vaccination. James has always maintained the safety of CCD’s staff and clients are the organization’s top priority.
Thursday morning Caroline travelled from her Bowmanville home to Pickering to get the first dose of her vaccination. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination requires two needles.
“I’m grateful that he (James) advocated for us to get it,” she said.
Caroline’s appointment was for 10:15 a.m. and she admitted she didn’t know what to expect. When she saw the crowds outside and the long lineup she wasn’t surprised. She stood in the cold for about 45 minutes before being let inside the building.
Inside, she was screened by staff asking her the standard COVID-19 questions such as ‘Are you currently experiencing any symptoms?’, or ‘In the last 14 days, have you been identified as a “close contact” of someone who currently has COVID-19?’ to name a few. Once through the screener, Caroline moved to another intake station where she provided her consent for the vaccination and swiped her health card. Then she waited until she was called to receive the vaccination.
“I barely felt the needle,” she said, giving a shout out to the nurse who administered the vaccine.
Caroline was then given a sticky note and escorted to a waiting area where she had to sit for 15 minutes. It’s standard procedure to wait after receiving a vaccine in case of an allergic reaction. When her waiting time was complete she was instructed to leave the sticky note on her chair.
Then she was greeted by another line to get out of the facility. It wasn’t as long as the lineup to get in, she admitted.
“I had to show them my health card again and they printed out an immunization record for me,” Caroline said.
When Caroline left the vaccination clinic it was almost 11:45 a.m. She said it was the first day for the clinics so they were a bit delayed getting started. Once back at work in Clarington, Caroline said she already had an email confirming her follow-up vaccination appointment on April 8 at 10:15 a.m.
“I was impressed by the organization of the clinic,” she said.
Caroline said despite the lineups, she’s grateful for the vaccination because with COVID-19, “It’s kind of all surreal,” she said.
As with everyone, the pandemic has been hard. Caroline used to coordinate the Luncheon Out and Friendly Visiting programs prior to COVID-19 but now her duties have changed to coordinating Transportation and Telephone Reassurance Programs.
Caroline said she is not in direct contact with clients but she is in contact with the Transportation Drivers so being vaccinated gives her peace of mind. She said she was grateful for the opportunity to get it early so her safety and others are protected.
“I just got it done and I’m glad I did,” she said.