The COVID-19 vaccine brought hundreds of faculty and staff from Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center one step closer to a return to normal life with the soft opening of their “Shots at The Schott.”
For healthcare workers facing the struggles of the pandemic head-on, they are now one step closer to the only thing they want: more time with their families.
“I have family who are in assisted living, I have a mother who is immunocompromised,” says Nathan McGuire, who works in Registration.
The shots aren’t just for themselves. They are to protect the loved ones they hope to be reunited with soon.
“You know my dad is 82-years old and I’ve only seen him on the driveway for lunch twice in the past nine months,” adds Amit Tandon, an Ophthalmologist.
But each of Friday’s recipients has faced their own unique challenges since the pandemic began.
“I got pregnant in March, so to go through this as a first-time pregnant woman, and now new mother, it’s been stressful,” admits Krista Carafa, an Assistant Nurse Manager.
While her husband was forced to stay home during her appointments, a fellow staff member has been navigating the obstacles of her engagement.
“Me and my fiancé are long distance, so we couldn’t see each other for a very long time,” describes Hannah johns, an Inpatient Pharmacy Tech.
Each hopes the vaccine will lead to more time with those they’ve missed.
“I’m very close with my grandparents too, so not being able to see them these days is especially difficult,” McGuire adds.
Roughly 400 staff members in total were vaccinated on Friday. Another 1,700 will have the same opportunity during the full launch next Tuesday.
“It’s hard to believe where we were a year ago. What our life was like then, and what it’s like now,” Tandon admits.
Thousands of more staff members, and patients, will be vaccinated in the coming weeks.
“I understand the optics externally looks like we’re not going fast enough, and I understand why people feel that way. But the reality is we have moved through our employees and staff as quickly as safely as possible,” says Dr. Johnathan Parson from Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.
Though recipients hoping the moment signals a soon end, and a new beginning.
“I am hopeful that this is the start of a cure for this, and definitely a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Carafa.