Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center, became the first American to receive a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on Dec. 14. By July, 73% of hospital workers in New York state had completed their Covid vaccine doses; in New York City, the rate was 70%, and on Long Island, 76%.
While NY is well ahead of most of the US in getting shots into arms, Lindsay, who was the grand marshal at NYC’s “Hometown Heroes” ticker-tape parade on July 7, says the industry can do better and offers her personal insights on vaccinations, why they are so important and addresses common misconceptions and fears.
Why are there health care workers who still haven’t gotten vaccinated?
People often ask, “How can health care workers be hesitant when our profession is rooted in sciences?” But health care workers are human too; they have the same concerns as everyday people. Ideas that “holistic” or “natural” defenses protect enough against Covid or fears about the vaccine’s side-effects have not changed much since day one. Unfortunately, the speed of the internet means just one incorrect piece of information travels rapidly.
If efforts to educate medical workers about the benefits haven’t worked, what else will?
Just because they haven’t worked doesn’t mean they will never work, especially as new data keeps coming out. And with the threat of the newest variant, those studies will eventually win them over. Who’s delivering the message is important, too. Not just hospital employers, but we also need community and faith leaders to come together.
What role do medical workers play in fighting community hesitancy?
People look up to us for advice and guidance. But if we don’t believe in the science, how can we expect our fellow community to? I have been on local Caribbean channels on the radio, sharing my experiences with the vaccine. People have come to me with questions, and I’ve been able to appeal to them with facts.
How can we address the pandemic’s strain on mental health?
Engaging in activities that increase physical health will also help mental health. At the peak of the pandemic, when my stress levels were the highest, I found running to be very helpful. Having a support system of family, friends and community is healthy. Attention to spiritual health is also beneficial, whether that is attending church services or meditation.
Source: Crain’s New York Business