Vaccine update in Jonesboro, staff discuss their personal COVID-19 experience

Vaccine update in Jonesboro, staff discuss their personal COVID-19 experience

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Both Jonesboro hospitals have been busy giving out the coronavirus vaccine, and it’s almost time for the second round for many employees.

NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital and St. Bernards Medical Center have administered thousands of COVID-19 vaccines.

As of Jan. 5, St. Bernards administered over 3,000 vaccines, and NEA Baptist administered over 900.

While both hospital’s employees have had the typical immune responses such as sore arms and brief cold-like symptoms, they’re ready for round 2.

“Once we do the paperwork, get them set up for their next appointment, then get the vaccine, we then monitor them for 15 minutes. Some people we monitor for 30 minutes depending on if they have any prior reactions,” St. Bernards VP of Ancillary Services LeAnn Morrow said.

Morrow said between Wednesday and Saturday, they will administer another 1,100 doses for round 2. The plan to begin another round 1 dosage next week.

For NEA Baptist Chaplain Steve Tipton, the vaccine couldn’t come soon enough.

He knows how tough COVID can be and how the virus affects people. While fighting COVID-19 himself, he faced body aches, weakness, fatigue, a loss of taste and smell.

“That’s the way it started and got progressively worse than it was at the beginning,” he said.

He’s seen patients in the hospital have it harder than he did and considers himself fortunate to have stayed out of the hospital.

St. Bernards ICU and COVID Unit nurse Caragan Woods said she was at work when her symptoms hit.

“I remember looking at one of my coworkers. I literally had tears in my eyes because I was like, ‘I think I have COVID,’” she said.

Her worse fear had become reality.

“Here, we see nothing but the worse. I mean, we see the acutely ill, critical COVID patients here in our ICU and I’ve been terrified of it, just absolutely terrified, just scared to death of it,” she said.

Tipton and Woods both received round 1 of the COVID-19 vaccine. Soon, they’ll get their second dose.

“Seeing what I’ve seen here I think, that for us, for our families, for our friends, even for yourself, I think everyone needs this vaccine,” she said. “It’s going to provide you … it’s the only thing we have to help you in preventing getting this virus.”

“It’s supposed to be effective and we need something effective against this type of virus. It’s really hurting a lot of people,” Tipton said.

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