#Shot of Hope: Debbie’s Story

By Jade Waddy

On Dec. 15, Memorial Hermann received its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. To date, the system has vaccinated tens of thousands of employees and members of the community following the State’s guidance for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which prioritizes vaccination in its Phase 1A and Phase 1B. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in one way or another since last March, so we invited employees to share why they made the decision to get vaccinated.

Debbie Mandella, R.N., Pediatric nurse at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center

Q: How has the pandemic changed the work you do every day?

A: “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to be flexible. The toll on healthcare workers who have to take care of these patients every day has been immense. Fortunately, pediatrics has not been very busy with COVID cases, so many of us have stepped up to help out in other departments.  I’ve been assisting our adult med/surge nurses with their patients while also taking care of my pediatric patients. I have also helped in our pre-anesthesia clinic to do COVID-19 testing, and most recently I helped administer COVID-19 vaccines to my colleagues.  Wherever there is a need in the hospital, we gladly assist. As nurses, this is what we do.”

  • Q: Why did you choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • A: “ I knew right away that I would receive the COVID-19 vaccine to protect my sons. Both are in the Air Force serving our country. My youngest will be going to Afghanistan in March and will be getting the vaccine soon. My oldest has been accepted into the Air Force pilot training program.  If he were to contract COVID-19 and have any lasting lung problems, he would likely be disqualified from the program. My hope is that he will be getting the vaccine soon as well. As they serve to protect Americans, I feel the least I can do is stay healthy and COVID-19 free to help protect them.  It was an easy decision for me to make.”
  • Q: Since receiving your vaccine, how have you felt?
  • A: “I have felt great since getting the vaccine.  I had some arm soreness and fatigue but it resolved after two days.  I do continue to observe all of the community mitigation efforts of masking and social distancing, but I feel confident in the vaccine’s protection.”

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