Teammates six months after receiving COVID-19 vaccination

Coronavirus Updates, News | one year ago

Where Are They Now? First Teammates Vaccinated Six Months Later

On December 14, 2020, a handful of Atrium Health teammates made history as they were among the first in our nation to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Now, we have passed the six months mark after our health system administered its first vaccines to our teammates. We checked in with these teammates and asked how they are living their lives post-vaccine.

On December 14, 2020, a handful of Atrium Health teammates made history as they were among the first in our nation to get a COVID-19 vaccineThey documented their experience in photos and shared encouraging testimonials on the importance of getting vaccinated. Their accounts marked an extraordinary next chapter in pandemic response work.

Since then, incredible strides have been made across the world. Several pharmaceutical companies are producing vaccines for global use. During spring 2021, the United States opened vaccine eligibility to all individuals 16 years of age and older to maintain widespread vaccination efforts.Approximately30% of the total American population has been fully vaccinated as of last month.

On the local level, Atrium Health has hosted dozens of mass vaccination events at Bank of America Stadium, the Charlotte Motor Speedwayand other community clinic locations.

Now, we have passed May 14, 2021 – six months after our health system administered its first vaccines to our teammates. We checked in with these teammates and asked how they are living their lives post-vaccine

Read on for their perspectives: how their overall health has been since their vaccination, how they are experiencing the world, and what practices they have changed (or kept the same).

Name: Catherine Passaretti, MD

Role: Medical Director, Infection Prevention

"Since the day I received my first vaccine, I felt immense hope and excitement that the world could return to some semblance of normalcy. We still have much to do, but I’ve had moments of deep relief – especially when my husband got fully vaccinated.

Personally, I’ve stayed physically healthy and free of COVID-19 (both pre and post vaccination). The past year has been one of the most challenging of my life. So many patients were struggling. Visiting family or traveling was out of the question. It was a lot of trauma and emotional stress, but I’m reassured by the benefits we are seeing in those vaccinated with decreased hospitalizations and cases. 

I’m just like anyone else it’s nerve-wracking to start interacting and seeing people again! But it’s so good for my soul, especially with the knowledge that I can do so safely as a vaccinated person.

That said, it can be hard to accept new things like the vaccine and I know people have a lot of questions. But we’re seeing more and more information suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effectiveStill, I encourage you to trust science and doctors. Talk to your friends, family and colleagues that have been vaccinated and who can help address your concerns. We are here for each otherVaccination is the best way to protect not only ourselves, but also our patients, loved ones and the community."

Dr. Katie Passaretti

NameJaspal Singh, MD

Role: Medical Director, Critical Care Practice and Education

"After the vaccine, I felt safer taking a flight to visit my parents and sister’s family out of state. It filled my heart to finally see my adorable niece and nephew again. Since then, I have even enjoyed an occasional meal at a restaurant.

Even so, vaccine-induced immunity has allowed me to continue to care for the patients that so desperately need help, while feeling safer doing so.

For those that are hesitant, it might help to learn how many in the world are suffering from the virus, including in my own country of India where COVID-19 has gone rampant. In fact, we have lost several near and dear to us in India due to COVID-19I would hate to see others go through this, or experience regret for not being immunized when one had the chance."

Dr. Jaspal Singh

NameKayla Horne, RN

Role: Clinical Supervisor, Atrium Health Levine Children’s

"I am honored to be the first vaccinated Levine Children’s teammate. The opportunity to be vaccinated meant hope and the chance to share vaccine awareness to my family, friends and teammates. 

Recently, my husband and I were able to travel and spend a weekend with close friends – all of whom were vaccinated too! I am so thankful to work for Atrium Health and feel supported throughout the pandemic."

Kayla Horne and family

NameSarah Francis, MSN, RN

Role: Director, FMG Operations Services

"Getting the vaccine meant so much for my healththe wellbeing of my family and the chance to see loved ones. In mid-April, we were able to visit my 81-year-old grandmother and my sister who live on Oahu. We also got to visit my dad who we hadn’t seen in over six months. A highlight of our Hawaii trip was touring the Dole Pineapple Plantation and simply spending time together on the island. None of this would have been possible without the vaccine!"

Sarah Francis

Name: Christian Schulz, PA-C

Role: Associate Medical Director, Carolinas Medical Center and Levine Children’s Hospital Emergency Departments 

"I have no lingering effects from my vaccination. Physically, I feel fine and have been otherwise working, living and managing as I did prior to my vaccine.

In turn, my family did experience a bright spot a few weeks agoOur children asked Santa for a puppy last Christmas and we were waiting for her to born. We recently got a call from one of his helpers that she was here and ready to join our family! Since my wife and I both received our vaccines, we felt much safer to travel to Virginia and bring her (named Maizie) home. We continue to wear masks in public – particularly indoors – as do our children, and this day was a “limited mask day” that we’ll always remember!

Moments like these remind me that while so much has been lost, there is still so much to gain. Vaccination is one mechanism we can use to end this pandemic – it is safe, the data is incredibly reassuring, and rates of infection have been declining.

We have made incredible strides in our pandemic response, but there are still those in need of our advocacy and our help to ensure the safety of their communitiesAgain, we can do this. It takes continued open dialogue, compassion, and education to inform household decision-making regarding vaccination. I know in my heart of hearts that we can get through this if we remain vigilant."

Christian Shulz and family