Arizona nurse calls coronavirus vaccine ‘light at the end of the tunnel’
PHOENIX — A registered nurse in Phoenix who has been caring for COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic is ready to get the vaccine.
“I absolutely think having the vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Mayo Clinic ICU nurse Carly Windschitl said.
Mayo Clinic staff will start receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Thursday along with other healthcare workers throughout the state.
This comes as a recent OH Predictive Insights poll shows 37% of healthcare workers in Arizona are not willing to take the vaccine and 8% are undecided.
Windschitl said she trusts the science behind the vaccine and hopes “the general public can see it that way too.”
She added it has been difficult to see how quickly a COVID-19 patient can go from being fine “until all of the sudden they’re not, which is a little scary.”
But it’s not all bad news. Windschitl said there have also been patients who get to go home after being hospitalized for months.
The patients she has treated aren’t just in Arizona. In November, she traveled to Wisconsin to help during the height of their surge. She came back four weeks later.
Her patients have had varying views about the coronavirus.
“I’ve seen patients who did everything they could and still got it and made comments like, ‘Now I’m going to end up in the hospital and die,’” she said. “That’s horrible to see.”
She has also had patients who have regretted not taking steps to protect themselves from the virus.
It might be a few months before the general public can get a COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona. Healthcare workers and first responders are being prioritized, followed by teachers and other essential workers.
In the meantime, Windschitl said she hopes Arizonans will “do their part” by continuing to wear a face mask and taking the vaccine when it’s available to them.
“I’m optimistic that we can stop the pandemic through these measures,” she said.