What’s it like getting immunized?

The province rolled out its immunization plans and eligibility priority last week, though health care providers have been eligible for several weeks. Some of our members who provide direct patient care in specific settings have already begun to get the vaccine. While the immunization rollout has not gone as quickly as originally promised, the physicians we spoke to have reported a mostly positive vaccination experience.

Dr. Selena Papetti, who works at the Whitemouth PCH as part of her practice, eagerly anticipated being eligible. After booking her appointment, she made her way to Winnipeg to get her shot. From an attendant making the parking ‘touchless’ to quick and thorough disinfection, Dr. Papetti’s experience proved to be quick and relatively painless as she was in and out in under half an hour, including the required 15-minute observation period. Even her fear of needles and forgetting where she parked her car couldn’t dampen her spirits. She reports wanting to do a fist pump to celebrate, like the “end scene of the Breakfast Club Movie,” as she walked into the post-vaccine monitoring area.

In addition to immunizers, the provincial super site clinics have navigators and other staff to help offer an orderly and seamless process to those being immunized.

The vaccine process went just as smoothly for Dr. Ryan Sustrik, an emergency specialist at St. Boniface Hospital. Though his second dose resulted in a low-grade fever, muscle aches and nightmares, the sense of relief in knowing he is less likely to contract COVID-19 and spread it to his family far outweighed the mild side effects. With vaccine hesitancy in the news, Dr. Sustrik wants patients considering immunization to know that “it’s such a worthwhile act to be brave for our communities.”

Some physicians may find their sense of relief overshadowed by a sense of guilt at having been one of the first Manitobans to be protected against COVID-19. Dr. Papetti wishes she could have given up her spot to her brother, who she views as more at risk than herself. It’s important to remember that as physicians, your own health and wellness allows you to give patients the care they deserve. Protecting physicians keeps Manitobans safe and demonstrates the overwhelming confidence doctors have in these new vaccines.

To find out when you might be eligible to be immunized, as a physician, use this trial calculator we created.