Kendall Skuta, an Abbotsford nurse, held up the card showing she'd been vaccinated shortly after receiving the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on Saturday, Dec. 19. (Kendall Skuta/Special to Black Press Media)

Abbotsford nurse says vaccine returned hope

Kendall Skuta says people unsure should seek out good info to help decide

Kendall Skuta got a bit of a weight lifted off her mind on Saturday, Dec. 19, when she became one of the first wave of health care workers in the Fraser Valley to receive the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

A nurse, Skuta works at both a hospital and a COVID-19 testing site, so she had been looking forward to receiving the vaccine.

For the most part, the vaccine is being given to lists of seniors care workers right now, as well as other front line workers who deal with the elderly.

But each batch of the Pfizer vaccine has to be thawed from -70° Celsius, and once thawed, it has to be used that day.

Any not used for those scheduled to get the shot is being given to other front line health workers or vulnerable people to ensure it does not go to waste. There has also been some “extra” vaccine, as vials were filled above what was strictly necessary by the factories.

“At the end of the day [Saturday] they had some left over,” Skuta said.

READ MORE: Health Canada approves Moderna COVID vaccine; 1.2 million does of two vaccines expected by Jan. 31

She got her shot and shortly after took a photo grinning behind her mask and showing off the card showing she’d been vaccinated.

“To see the vaccine, I felt hopeful for the first time this year,” Skuta said.

She’s been through an anxious and frustrating year, she said.

Because she’s around patients who could carry COVID, even with protective equipment, there’s a constant worry about catching the coronavirus and bringing it home to her husband.

Her year has included a lot of Facetime calls with relatives instead of seeing them in person, she said.

More than that, she’s been frustrated by false information spread about the coronavirus and its seriousness all year.

There’s been a lot of disregard for the people who are dying, she said, with some discounting them, saying they had pre-existing conditions or were very old.

“A death is a death,” Skuta said. “It’s very hard to see people who don’t take it seriously.”

Although she’s been vaccinated, it means no change in the way Skuta behaves at work or in public.

“We treat it [the vaccine] as if we didn’t have it,” she said.

The Pfizer and soon-to-arrive Moderna vaccines both require two shots to achieve the hoped-for immunity of around 95 per cent. But until there’s widespread vaccination and numbers go down, anyone could still carry the virus.

To anyone who is apprehensive about getting the vaccine, Skuta says to do your research – but go to trusted, reliable sources of information.

“Stick to the facts,” she said.

The Centre for Disease Control, health authorities, and governments are giving clear information about the vaccine and its possible side effects.

Make a personal choice after getting solid, reliable info, Skuta said.

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