On Dec. 14, the United States began to administer its first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers. Shortly after, the FDA approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to also be distributed.
Many nursing students at Sacred Heart University were eligible to receive the vaccine due to working in the hospitals for their clinical hours.
“Knowing I have to be in the surgical ICU this semester, I believe it was in my best interest to get it,” said senior Shania Latassa.
Senior nursing major Sophia Caruso had a similar reason for why she wanted to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I chose to get my vaccine because I am working in the hospitals caring for individuals who are high risk,” said Caruso.
According to CT.gov, Connecticut is currently in phase 1A and the beginning stage of 1B of vaccination distribution, which includes healthcare personnel, long-term care facility residents, medical first responders, and individuals 65 years and older, as well as residents and staff of select congregate settings.
Junior Brooke Cahill received the Pfizer vaccine through her job as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at an assisted living home.
“I was not hesitant at all to do so, and couldn’t help but think about my residents, my family, and life before the pandemic while receiving it,” said Cahill.
As part of their clinical training, Sacred Heart nursing students were among some of the first to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers at Danbury Hospital. The students were part of The Nuvance Health Vaccination program, during which they vaccinated over 2,500 individuals throughout the week.
Latassa said she felt overwhelmingly honored to have the chance to give the vaccine to healthcare workers.
“They’ve been on the front line for over 365 days in a row now. By being a student giving the vaccine, I was not only able to see the hope and relief in their eyes, but in the bigger picture, I was able to fill a spot so that another nurse could be on the unit doing their job and saving a life,” said Latassa. “There was no other place I would have felt more useful.”
Caruso also participated in administering the vaccine and said that this is one step closer to getting back to a new normal.
According to NPR, 13% of the population in Connecticut has had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 5.1% has received both doses.
In New York, childcare workers are eligible to receive the vaccine as part of phase 1B.
Senior Alexa Irizarry works at a daycare and said that she received the vaccine because she wanted to play her part in ending the spread.
“It was honestly such a moving experience. I felt like I was really making a difference for the world,” said Irizarry.
Cahill says that she feels extremely relieved to have been able to receive the vaccine.
“I encourage everyone else to get the vaccine when they are eligible,” said Cahill.