Sutter Health’s CVU ICU nurses hard at work. Photo taken by Ron Bringas

Sutter General Hospital on 2825 Capitol Ave, began distributing the first dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine to their staff in late December; a Christmas miracle.

The second dose is currently being administered. 

Hau Ting Panoke and Yesabel Perza are both Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVU ICU) nurses at Sutter Hospital. There are many wonders and fears orbiting the COVID-19 Vaccine, whether Pfizer or Moderna. Panoke and Perza hope to provide some ease to the public.  

Panoke describes the process of getting the Pfizer Vaccine at Sutter Hospital. 

“There is a sign up sheet, so I immediately signed up. [The distributors] prioritize people that want the vaccine. They want to have a tier, they don’t want all the nurses to get sick all at once [due to side effects]. As time goes by more and more people get vaccinated.”

Perza dives into the differences in processes with other hospitals. 

“Many hospitals used a “lottery” system, and I believe that was unfair to those exposing themselves to COVID daily. Sutter had a great system in place where they gave priority to the departments who have most exposure with COVID.”

The question behind everyone’s mind, “What are the side effects?”

The card above is used to keep track of a person’s Covid-19 vaccinations. Everyone who takes the vaccine will be given one to keep.

Perza had no side effects from her first dose. Panoke’s answer is slightly different, “The first shot, my side effect was numbness and tingling all the way down my arm. Then a little bit of a headache and nausea. It was really, really mild. Only lasted a day or two.”

The second dose of the Pfizer Vaccine is when Perza and Panoke’s side effects heightened. 

“There were no immediate side effects, but the following day I did experience fatigue, body aches, a headache, and some hot flashes. It only lasted for 24 hours. I felt great enough to go to work the next day,” says Perza.

Panoke reveals, “After work, I started to have a migraine, a headache, and nausea that lasted all day. Also, just feeling really weak from head to toe; joint ache, and muscle ache. I took some ibuprofen for the body aches and then some vitamin C gummies, and that took care of it.”

Panoke continues with comfort, “Don’t be afraid of the side effects, it goes away. Regardless how you feel, it goes away.” 

As front-line workers, Perza and Panoke are the first of many to receive the Pfizer Vaccine… with that, comes uncertainty. 

Perza shares, “I was not nervous at all to take the vaccine. I did a lot of reading beforehand. Many are skeptical and say that the vaccine was rushed, but what they don’t understand is that there were special circumstances because of the global pandemic. There was an excess of volunteers ready to be in the study and the funding was there for the same reason. This was an emergency protocol.” 

“The technology used for the vaccine has been studied since the 1990s. mRNA technology is not new- it’s just now finally being used. I trust those who have dedicated their entire lives to the good of science,” Perza elaborates. 

There is no doubt that people will arrive with skepticism and fear over the COVID-19 Vaccine, especially with the name, “Operation Warp Speed.” Perza takes the time to address those people. 

For those who are skeptical of the vaccine, I would say do you trust your mechanic with your car? Do you trust your stylist with your hair? The majority of people do not get into their careers to cause harm to others.”

Panoke makes it known, “The shot gives you the antibodies against this virus. It is not a cure. The number one thing is continue to wear your mask, continue to social distance, continue to do your hand hygiene.”

Perza’s finishing thought is clear and concise. 

“Have faith in the scientists who have worked so hard to put this pandemic to an end.”