Hester Roos, R.N., may need to pinch herself to prove she’s not dreaming.
After a year of uncertainty, and much anticipation of a vaccine to help protect against COVID-19, Hester can hardly believe the shipment has finally arrived.
As a nurse providing frontline care in the Pediatric Emergency Center, Hester now finds herself to be first in line at the vaccine clinic for frontline staff on the very first clinic day at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
“I just feel like this is the way we can get our lives back. … It’s the first step,” Hester says.
She moves through the registration process and takes her seat by the nurse who will administer the shot.
Kentlee Battick, R.N., is meticulous … confirming Hester’s identity, retrieving the vaccine, scanning in the lot number, documenting on the vaccination card, asking all the right questions.
She wants to get this first vaccine — and each one that comes after it — exactly right.
“No pressure, right?” she says with a laugh. “But seriously, the teams have done so much preparation, including a detailed simulation, I knew I was prepared.”
Hester barely feels the light pinch of the needle.
She focuses on the meaning of this moment for her.
Hester was born and raised in South Africa, where her family still resides. Her father, mother and brother were all diagnosed with COVID-19. While her father and brother managed to avoid serious illness, her mother was not so lucky. She was hospitalized, and after weeks of struggle, is finally on the mend.
As Hester worried over her family this year, she came to work in the Emergency Center each day, hoping she could do all the things to keep herself safe.
“The traumas that come in are the hardest,” Hester says. “Traumas and those coming in who are critically ill, you just don’t know right away if they’re sick with COVID-19 or have been exposed.”
But today, Hester can exhale.
A family intact. A vaccine in her arm. A smile on her face.
Today is a very good day.
Watch as some of the hospital's first employees to receive the vaccine shared their thoughts.