GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Getting the COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, and some frontline workers at Memorial Hospital got their second shot on Tuesday. Workers had their vaccine cards ready for a process that is no different than the first round.
Kelly Hines, an emergency room registered nurse, said she has seen the ins and outs of COVID-19 and encourages everyone to get vaccinated.
“We’ve had ups and downs,” Hines said. “I think we started out with the fear that a lot of people had.”
Hines said that fear faded away when she realized how important her role was during this pandemic.
“We’ve seen people do very well,” said Hines. “We’ve seen people with not a whole lot of symptoms. Then we’ve seen people dying too, so it has been a little stressful.”
Since March, frontline workers have dedicated and sacrificed long hours to help people get back on their feet from the coronavirus. Hines said at the hospital they did a lot of preparations to keep all employees safe before there was a vaccine.
“We’ve seen the rise and fall of the surges,” said Hines. “You can really tell when the numbers go up, how it feels working in that.”
Hines encourages everyone to get the vaccine and listen to medical experts.
Frontline workers are hopeful that them getting the vaccine themselves will set an example for those in the community.
“The pandemic is new for us, but when it comes to health care, we’re leaders and we need to set those examples to show people,” Hines said. “If we shy away from it or afraid of it, what does that say to people in the community, and I feel very strongly that we should get it.”
Sonny McNair was called back to work out of retirement and said that’s when he knew this virus was serious.
“They called me back and asked me if I would take a PRN position, and I said yes and it’s been pretty rough,” he said.
McNair said seeing COVID-19 patients fight day in and day out is not a pleasant sight to see.
“It’s not a good thing. Some survive, some don’t. All I can tell people is to protect yourself. I really do encourage people to really think about it hard to take this shot. Stop being naïve and listening to what other people tell you,” he said.
Health care workers said even though you’ve been vaccinated, it’s important to still follow safety precautions such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing. Front line workers said they’re hopeful their actions will set an example for everyone in the community.