One woman is highly recommending everyone get vaccinated, especially in Chatham-Kent, after she had a “very friendly, cheerful and efficient” experience at the local clinic.
When Lynn Hume first heard through local media that CK Public Health was issuing vaccines, she immediately got her husband Doug Brown, 73, to book himself an appointment as he was now in the eligible age range.
The couple expected to hear back from public health in two weeks time because phone lines were inundated with calls. To their surprise they got a response within three days and Hume, 69, was also given permission to get inoculated despite being under the age of 70.
“He said ‘I want to add my wife,’ and they said, ‘No problem; you guys come at the same time.’”
By March 29, both Hume and Brown had received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine after getting a thorough briefing on what was going into their bodies.
Hume said her experience at the vaccine clinic, located at the John D. Bradley Centre, was even better than expected. Staff provided the couple with medical-grade masks, a COVID screening questionnaire and ensured that each visitor washed their hands.
The inside of the main vaccination area looked like a maze with a zigzag of rope sectioning off each station. There were several people ahead of Hume in the winding line, which was concerning because she has arthritis in the knees and walks with a cane. Luckily, one volunteer noticed.
“I thought ‘Oh, I'm going to have to wait a while,’ and then a lady came over and said, ‘We're going to fast track you because you have a cane.’ Within a minute, she took us over to a very nice young man who took all our information, and the next minute we were getting our vaccines.”
The couple got to share the same vaccine booth, which was nice for Hume who is actually terrified of needles and suffers from drug allergies.
“I am a real baby when it comes to needles. I actually fainted once.”
Hume said the staff member covered the needle with a cloth and asked her questions about her day as a distraction.
“You just start talking, and before I knew it, she'd given me the needle. I didn't feel a thing,” Hume said. “It was really nice, and we didn't even sit there for five minutes.”
The next step was to sit in the monitoring area for 15 minutes, which in Hume’s case, was increased to 30 minutes because of her medical history. During the wait, several nurses checked on her and offered up some ice packs.
Unfortunately Hume did experience a minor allergic reaction when she got home which was easily cured by a dose on Benadryl.
“I'd rather not end up in the hospital and ICU, thank you,” Hume said when asked why she chose to take the vaccine despite her allergic reactions to drugs.
“I was a little scared because of how I react, but I wasn't sceptical of the vaccine because I read up on how it was working in other countries. And I just thought at this point with the pandemic, we have to try something – something has got to work,” she said.
Hume said she is frankly losing patience with the COVID conspiracy theorists, anti-vaccine advocates, and residents who are gathering in large groups. All she wants to do is hug her grandchildren but feels like individuals spreading anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine messages are the cause of the recent surge in cases.
“I'm tired of people saying, ‘Oh I didn't know we had to do this in lockdown.’ There's been so much information passed from neighbour to neighbour and in the news all over that you have to know what's going on. Don't tell me you don't know.”
Hume and her husband have been utilizing their backyard and only leave the house twice a month for groceries. When it comes to the rules and recommendations for COVID-19 safety, they are not joking around.
“If we’ve seen our grandchildren, it's been from over six-feet away. We can’t even hug them or go in their house. I really miss it,” she said. “My 12-year-old granddaughter, what she'll do when she sees us is hug herself and then she makes the sign of a heart with her fingers. It just brings tears to my eyes.”
“We are sticking to the rules and that's why I'm getting tired of people not sticking to the rules.”
Hume plans to adhere to the rules even though she had her first shot of the vaccine. According to Public Health recommendations, vaccinated people should continue to follow the COVID safety protocols.
“I'm 69 and I've never ever been through anything like this in my life. That's scary. We have been following the rules, even when we were in yellow, we were still masking and social-distancing.”
Hume just hopes everyone will do the same, and get vaccinated as soon as possible, so she can get back to hugging her grandchildren.
Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice