Respiratory therapist Sarah MacKenzie was among the first wave of health-care professionals in Central Zone to receive the COVID vaccine last week. She has been sharing her experiences with many who are curious about the vaccine.
Photo from Alberta Health Services

Respiratory therapist shares her COVID vaccine experiences

Sarah MacKenzie among just over 300 central Alberta health workers to get vaccine so far

So many people wanted to know what getting the COVID vaccine was like respiratory therapist Sarah MacKenzie took to Facebook Live for the first time to share her experiences.

About 20 people, including friends and family, had tuned in at one point as she provided a 24-hour update since she got the Pfizer vaccine at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre last Wednesday.

MacKenzie, who provides respiratory therapy through home care in Red Deer, was among more than 300 physicians and other health professionals in central zone to get the first doses of the vaccine by Christmas Eve.

Physically, getting the shot has been almost a non-event. Her arm was slightly sore, but the side effects were much less pronounced than her yearly flu shot, which often leaves her with an aching arm, as well as fatigue and nausea.

“I didn’t find any of that with the COVID vaccine.”

Central Albertan respiratory therapist among first to get COVID vaccine

500 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Getting the vaccine and her willingness to go public with her story has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, only marred by online comments from a handful of skeptics.

“I was prepared for there to be a few trolls,” said MacKenzie, who posts to Facebook and Instagram. “I was prepared no matter what response I got to not engage with people who were negative.

“For the most part, I’d say 95 per cent of people were really positive,” she said on Monday from her Lacombe home. “Everyone was really interested in how I was doing at the 24-hour mark.

“Overall, it was a really positive experience.”

Family members, including her parents in Lacombe, and three uncles who are doctors, were thrilled for her.

“They were so excited that I was in the first wave,” she said.

24 hours post Phizer/BioNtech Vaccine- update from Sarah

Posted by Sarah MacKenzie on Thursday, 24 December 2020

MacKenzie has been on holidays since she got the vaccine so has not visited her home care clients yet. But she is looking forward to sharing her story and knows they will get a lift as well.

She will get the second of her two shots on Jan. 13 and continues to wear a mask and observe the health protocols that have been in place for many months now.

MacKenzie expects to get more information about what to expect from the vaccine when she goes in for her second shot.

There has been much public discussion since she got her vaccine about the emergence of a COVID mutation, that has now made its way to Canada.

Alberta Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw has said the Pfizer vaccine that MacKenzie and other Albertans have received or will be receiving soon is expected to protect against the mutation.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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