#ShotofHope: Kirsten Cowan, school nurse, Lakeland Elementary School, Humble ISD

I have been a school nurse for a little more than six years and this has been the most challenging year for me and everyone at our school. Every morning I stand outside and hand out masks to our students and teachers as they enter the building. We have had 13 teachers and eight students come down with the virus, and that has been hard to watch. With a limited number of guest nurses in the district, if I got sick with COVID-19, there would be no one to take care of the students, who range in age from three to 12. Besides taking care of bumps and bruises, I am also the only one on campus who can identify if someone is experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, so it’s imperative that I am at work every day.

Q. Why did you choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. I had many reasons why I wanted to receive the vaccine. I have three kids at home, one of whom has asthma. My husband is a pilot and is exposed to many people every day. I also have elderly parents who I haven’t seen in a year for fear of exposing them to the virus. I look forward to the day when I can hug them again. Lastly, my son and his wife just had their first child. I haven’t been able to hold the baby and I know the vaccine will give me the chance to hold my grandchild sooner rather than later. I cannot wait.

Q. Since receiving your vaccine, how have you felt?

A. When I heard that Memorial Hermann was giving me the opportunity to get the vaccine, I jumped at the chance. I had a sore arm for a little while, but other than that, I felt fine. I hope by getting the vaccine I am setting a positive example for my friends and colleagues who are on the fence about it. I want us to reach herd immunity as soon as possible, and by getting the vaccine, I feel I am doing what I can to help get us there. I think it’s the only way we will get back to what we used to call a normal life.

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Ali Vise