Thousands of JPS Health Network team members have rolled up their sleeves to get COVID-19 vaccinations.
Now they’re urging Tarrant County residents to do the same.
The vaccination could save their own life, or the lives of the people they care most about, according to the front line caregivers who have been fighting the virus for nearly a year. It could also save the lives of the doctors and nurses we all count on to take care of us should we become ill.
“I encourage everybody to get the vaccine,” said RN Jocelyn Thompson. “We need this vaccine so we finally have immunity against this virus, which is a very dangerous disease.”
Thompson said she has had to put aside her personal concerns to take care of the people who need her.
“I need this vaccine because I have some underlying conditions,” Thompson said. “I was so worried about this virus. Hopefully, because of the vaccination, the end of the pandemic is finally in sight. I encourage others to get the vaccine for our own health, for the people we love, and for everybody in this country and around the world.”
More than 4,000 JPS team members have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to serve the people of Tarrant County. The public can register to be inoculated at one of the designated vaccination hubs across the region on the Tarrant County Department of Public Health website. County leaders say residents must register and have an appointment, those who show up unannounced will be turned away.
Frontline caregivers urge residents to register as soon as possible.
Respiratory Therapist Jay Pyburn said people shouldn’t underestimate COVID-19. He said, in addition to being a life-threatening disease, it also causes a lot of other problems for survivors.
“I've seen what COVID can do,” Pyburn said. “It's not just death; even among the ‘recovered,’ long- term effects can be permanent lung damage and more. This is truly a devastating illness, and we need to take every precaution available.”
For the healthcare worker, getting a vaccination is a sign of respect for all those who have lost their battle with COVID-19.
"I want that patient and/or their family to know that I am going to do everything I can in the COVID ICU to save their life, and I am going to do whatever I can to protect everyone around me in daily life," Pyburn said. "Not everyone has access to see how devastating this virus is, not only to the human body, but also to the emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of the healthcare workers sacrificing their own lives."
Kayla Evans, a Critical Care RN in the Intensive Care Unit, said getting your COVID-19 vaccination is key to taking control of your future and reclaiming it from the pandemic.
“For the people who are not in the medical field, it not only shows admiration for your overworked and overtired healthcare workers,” Evans said. “It is also a statement of humanity. You don't have to see the horror of this virus to know that it is hurting people and their families. There is something you can do to help. This vaccine is movement toward getting life back to normal, appreciating the blessings of science, and saying thank you to all those individuals that have made the vaccine possible and cared for those affected patients.”
Thompson said that some people are concerned about getting the vaccination because it’s so new. But she, Pyburn and Evans – along with more than 4,000 other JPS team members – have already received it with no ill effects.
“This vaccine is just like getting the flu shot,” Thompson said. “It’s a tool we can use to fight against the virus. I know people are tired of wearing masks and social distancing, and we’ll still have to do those things for a while, but this is the path to getting back to normal. The sooner the better.”