Kirsten Cowan is the nurse at Lakeland Elementary School in Humble. A dozen of her colleagues have contracted COVID-19, which made her want to get the vaccine even more, along with three other reasons. Memorial Hermann offered her a vaccine at the end of December and she jumped at the chance.
First of all: "I am the only trained personnel on campus that is here to be able to assess students and staff for signs and symptoms of COVID. As a member of the contact tracing team, if I were to go out with COVID, we have a limited number of guest nurses in the district. So we would have to hope that there would be somebody to replace me. Even if there were, and I know my kids, so I know that Johnny might have asthma and he might cough and throw up and that's Johnny's normal and so Johnny doesn't need to go home under COVID protocol. Another nurse may not know that, so from a professional standpoint, it was huge," smiles Kirsten.
The second reason is she wants to serve as an example for anyone nervous about getting a coronavirus vaccine.
"It was also an opportunity to show our staff that I had faith in the vaccine and that I would hope that they would as well," explains Kirsten.
Her third reason is quite personal, with concerns she’s at high risk of complications, if she catches COVID.
"I'll be 57 at the end of January, so I am not your typical school nurse in my 30s. And so, from an age standpoint, I do have some underlying health conditions, so that was huge for me. I have three kids at home, and a husband is an airline pilot, so it's important for me on a personal level to be protected," says Kirsten.
She believes a lot of teachers in her school feel the same way, especially after Memorial Hermann extended the vaccine offer to her colleagues.
"The minute we announced that the staff had the opportunity to be vaccinated, they were all over it. And so I think it's meant a lot and I've had them come and ask me questions about side effects and we've discussed what their fears are about getting a vaccine. I've been able to help some of them get off the fence and move towards getting a vaccine," says Kirsten.
She’s glad she didn’t experience any side effects from the vaccine.
"I was fine. My arm was a little sore. No different than a flu shot, no different than any intramuscular shot you get, but beyond that I did not have any side effects," states Kirsten.
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