By David Fleet
Mass vaccinations are nothing new to Sara Taylor’s patients.
“They (patients) are all asking me, ‘Hey Sara, when are you going to bring us the vaccine?” said Taylor, who for the past six years has served as a Registered Nurse Case Manager and currently cares for geriatric patients with an average age of about 80 years old. “These people are older and have all lived through the times when a vaccine is needed like polio where millions received the drug. They know what it’s like to need vaccines to survive and they are not afraid to take it now. They all are willing and soon they will have an opportunity.”
On Jan. 7, Taylor received the Moderna vaccine at the Burton Branch of the Genesee County Health Department. She is set to receive the second dose in early February, making the vaccine 95 percent effective preventing the coronavirus. The Hadley Township resident and former Goodrich High School student left a large urban hospital for duties in the field as a home health nurse.
She recently was reassigned and is now a primary care nurse in two large care facilities in Genesee County.
“It was easy,” she said. “I’ve had a few side effects, a few muscle aches and a little tired, but it’s really no big deal. Without this vaccine nothing is going to change. Our goal (as a home health nurse) is to prevent hospitalization and educate patients. That’s why I left the hospital to go out in the field. I realized I could do more before people were seriously ill.”
Taylor was one of the first to receive the vaccine. On Monday, Michigan entered a new phase of vaccine distribution, and began offering vaccine to Michiganders age 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and pre K-12 educators, support staff, and childcare providers.
Taylor said that over the past few months she watched as the coronavirus has waxed and waned among populations.
“It goes along with when people are gathering,” she said. “After the holidays when people gather, the cases go up. It’s time this pandemic comes to an end and it’s only going to happen with the vaccine.”
Taylor said the roll out of the vaccine, while slow at first at getting out, has been amazing.
“They have accomplished so much with regard to research to take on Covid,” she said. “The vaccine is not a new one, it’s been around for a long time, we’ve had all the parts (of the vaccine) and it just needed to put it back together to fight the coronavirus. It’s like a pizza—just rearrange and change the toppings.”
On Monday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that they will grant Governor Whitmer and eight other governors’ request and release the millions of doses of the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine currently being held back by the Trump Administration. HHS also announced that they will follow Michigan’s lead, recommending that states open up vaccinations to Americans age 65 and up, a move that Governor Whitmer announced last week.
As of press time on Thursday Oakland county residents included in this next phase can visit www.oaklandcountyvaccine.com to reserve a spot in line for when the county receives enough vaccine doses to begin making appointments. Genesee County Health Department currently does not have the COVID- 19 vaccine available for public distribution. When the receive the vaccine for public distribution they will post the vaccine availability.
Taylor understands the uncertainty of the vaccinations.
“I encourage those who have questions to call the health departments,” she said. “They would be happy to put your mind at ease. We need this vaccine and to make it happen.”