Some colleagues held hands as they got their shots together; others did a celebration dance; many clapped and cheered after each injection. For the staff, it was an emotional occasion that was about much more than protecting themselves from COVID-19.
“I’m getting vaccinated today for my newborn baby,” says Shelahmer Dela Cruz, an emergency department nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “I owe it to her to stay healthy so I can continue to be a mother for her and raise her.”
“I got vaccinated to protect the patients who come to the hospital and for the population at large,” says Melaney Gordon, the director of nursing in the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“I’m getting this vaccine for New York City,” says Dr. Cara Agerstrand, a critical care medicine specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “New York City came out with such strength to support front-line workers and healthcare workers during this whole pandemic, and getting this vaccine today is a way that I can give back.”
The common theme across the entire staff was anticipation for brighter days ahead.
“This gives me hope for 2021 that we can help everybody around us without worrying about being the source of infection,” says Dr. Renu Mital, an emergency medicine physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “This is the best Christmas present ever.”