Riverview Manor nurse sees hope in COVID-19 vaccine

·2 min read

Nurse Grace Cressman, who works at Riverview Manor in Montague, was one of the first long-term care workers on the Island to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ms Cressman went into the QEH for her injection Wednesday afternoon. So did 140 others just as vaccines started to be administered on PEI.

“I hardly felt a thing,” she said.

Ms Cressman sees the vaccine’s arrival to Prince Edward Island as a historical moment and a source of hope moving forward.

“Never has the whole world worked together to produce something to save lives like this,” she said.

Ms Cressman finds it is hopeful because it’s a step toward getting back to a normal lifestyle and becoming less fearful of and susceptible to COVID-19.

“By receiving this vaccine you’re protecting yourself, your patients, residents, clients and fellow Islanders,” said the province’s Chief Nursing Officer, Marion Dowling after thanking those who have decided to get vaccinated.

Ms Cressman said she would prefer to brave the small risk of typically minor vaccine side effects like headaches or fever compared to contracting or spreading COVID-19.

She added COVID-19 is not only deadly but has been seen to cause serious lung damage and long-term effects in people who survive the virus.

Ms Cressman has heard some vaccine hesitancy among staff and other Islanders.

“There are quite a lot of people who are quite anxious because it’s a newly developed vaccine,” she said. “Some people just seem paralyzed with fear.”

She expects the more people get vaccinated and the more people become informed, the less people will fear vaccination.

“So much money has been poured into this from countries all over the world and an enormous number of man hours from scientists and qualified professionals have gone into this.”

Despite some hesitancy, there are lots of health care workers and Islanders looking to get the vaccine, according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr Heather Morrison. She doesn’t expect any of the 1,950 doses currently secured by the province will go to waste.

Long-term health care workers have been booking appointments and Dr Morrison expects all the available doses will be administered by the end of last week.

“I just want to encourage people not to be afraid of this,” said Ms Cressman, who has been busy offering her staff resources so they can make well-informed decisions.

Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic