Sandra Agyemang: Each vaccination is one step closer
Registered Nurse Sandra Agyemang is a familiar face at Osler’s annual flu-prevention clinics; she has administered thousands of vaccines in her career, but in December she gave a jab that was history in the making when she delivered Brampton’s first COVID-19 vaccine at Osler’s Brampton Civic COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic.
The opening of the clinic attracted attention from media, and City of Brampton Mayor, Patrick Brown, along with Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh looked on as Sandra gave the first vaccine. She admits to being nervous as all eyes were on her for the momentous occasion. “It's something that I've done so many times, it wasn't the action of giving the vaccine, it was all the attention,” she says.
The first person to receive the vaccine was Vilma Whyte, a Personal Support Worker with Tullamore Care Community. “Before I gave her the vaccine, I asked, ‘Are you nervous?’ She said she was and I said, ‘Me too, but we can do this’.”
THE FIRST OF MANY
Since that first shot, Sandra and her colleagues in the clinic have administered more than 70,000 COVID-19 vaccines in alignment with the Government of Ontario’s direction. Sandra says those being vaccinated have been everything from excited and nervous to overwhelmed with gratitude to be receiving the vaccine.
“Some people are excited—they can’t wait to get it—and some people are very nervous. So then my nursing kicks in and I'm like, ‘okay, let's talk’. A lot of the fear is based on all these conspiracy theories circling around, so I take the extra time to talk to them and reassure them because I'm a nurse, and that’s what we do,” she says.
“Most people are appreciative of the vaccine. I had a gentleman come in and he was actually crying—he was happy to the point of tears and said he can't believe we've been able to find a vaccine. He was thanking me and thanking the scientists and everybody that's involved to make this to happen.”
She says the overwhelming sentiment is a longing for a return to normalcy. “Everybody wishes this thing will go away so we can no go back to our normal life,” she says. “It's exciting to see the number of people being vaccinated—each vaccination is one step closer.”
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