Staff members of IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital are physically and emotionally fatigued, said Rebecca Phipps, registered nurse in the hospital’s emergency department.
Soon after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines in December 2020, IU Health began vaccinating its team members.
Phipps received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Dec. 18, 2020, and her second dose Jan. 7, 2021.
“I was beyond thrilled to schedule my vaccine the very first day it was available to IU Health Ball staff,” Phipps said. “I feel empowered to have participated in this experience and the impact it will have on life returning to normal.”
Phipps said scheduling an appointment was simple, and she was observed for 15 minutes after being vaccinated to check for any allergic reactions.
Who in Indiana is currently eligible to receive a vaccine?
- Paid and volunteer first responders
- Healthcare workers with direct patient contact
- Indiana residents age 70 and older
- Workers exposed to COVID-19 infectious material
Source: Indiana State Department of Health
After receiving her second dose, Phipps said, she was experiencing “mild symptoms of a healthy immune response,” including a sore arm and waking up with body aches and chills the next morning. She said she didn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms by the second day after her vaccination.
As of Jan. 19, more than 3,200 IU Health workers have been vaccinated at Ball Memorial Hospital, said Director of Transformation Brian Reed.
Reed said the most at-risk frontline workers at IU Health were invited to schedule their vaccination appointments in December, and team members at a lesser risk scheduled their appointments afterward.
Team members are vaccinated on site in Ball Memorial’s South Tower Lobby. Reed said unused doses are stored securely in freezers at their required temperatures.
Eligible community members can also be vaccinated at Ball Memorial Hospital. Once more community members can be vaccinated, Phipps said, she is hopeful people can return to some of the activities they enjoyed before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hoosiers, this is your opportunity to trust science,” she said. “Intense focus and unlimited funding solely for research and development of this vaccine has allowed us to witness and be a part of history. We have the ability to end this pandemic, and it starts with each of us.”
Phipps said Indiana State Department of Health guidance instructed her to continue to socially distance from other people and wear a face mask after receiving the vaccine. She said she is witnessing higher spirits in the Ball Memorial hospital halls.
“This pandemic has been very taxing emotionally,” Phipps said. “In the beginning, we were fearful but empowered. Now, we are exhausted [and] stretched thin, but we have hope.”
Contact Grace McCormick with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @graceMc564.