Coronavirus vaccination becomes family affair

COVID-19 Vaccine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — At an office building turned vaccination center in Kent County, nurses work feverishly to administer the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

They average over 2,000 a day. But on Thursday, none was more special than the one given to Peggy Alexander.

It’s not the vaccine in the syringe as much as the person pressing the plunger.

“My granddaughter could save my life,” Alexander, a retired school teacher, said. “My granddaughter gave me a vaccination today that could save my life.”

Spectrum nurse Kelsey Zoodsma is among the army of nurses administering the shots.

When Zoodsma found out her grandmother was registered for vaccination at the same location she worked, the scheduling stars aligned.

“Coincidence that we were at the same place at the same time,” Alexander said.

“I completely believe in the vaccine and I trust it. So, I felt very comfortable injecting it into my grandmother,” Zoodsma said.

It’s been a long 10 months for both grandmother and granddaughter.

Family interaction, even during the holidays, was from afar.

Alexander missed her annual fly-fishing trip to Montana.

And Zoodsma, like so many nurses, not only deals with the medical side of treating COVID-19 patients.

Zoodsma is often the person holding the hand of frightened patients separated from loved ones to prevent the spread of the virus.

Working at the vaccination center and administering the vaccine to her star patient provides some welcome relief.

“So many people think ‘oh, it’s ok. You lose your taste for three or four days and then you’re better.’ And for some people, that’s true. But that’s not what us in the medical field have seen,” Zoodsma said. “People are really, really sick and they’re really, really lonely. And it’s so exciting and refreshing to be in a place where everybody is so excited and so thankful.”

Of course, a shot in the arm can hurt.  So, what does grandma think of granddaughter’s technique?

“I didn’t really notice it,” Alexander said.

“I think I’ve given 300 by now. So, I had a little bit of practice before stabbing my grandmother,” Zoodsma said.

For now, Alexander awaits her second dose.

She says she’ll still follow all of the precautions. But she’ll do so with the peace of mind of added protection.

And pride in the granddaughter that’s playing a role in bringing an end to the pandemic.

“Makes you want to say, ‘life is good,’” Alexander said. “Life is good today.”

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