Registered nurse Brittany Favel was the first person in Saskatchewan’s far north region to be vaccinated. She grew up in Ile a la Crosse, and returned there recently to work close to friends and family. She shares her vaccination experience.
Why was getting vaccinated important to you?
I always said that I wanted to be the first person in line and I actually was the first person, so that was cool. It’s important for me because I want to be able to visit my Grandpa again. He's in long term care, and in Ile a la Crosse, long term care is attached to the hospital, and I can only see him through a window.
I grew up in Ile a la Crosse and have friends and family here. I was raised by my grandparents, and I haven’t been physically close to my grandpa for months, aside from the day we were vaccinated. I can’t wait to be able to spend more time with him, and to see Grandma reunited with him.
Has your attitude changed about COVID-19 vaccination between your first dose and now?
No, it was important before being immunized and it’s just as important now. It’s about family for me.
What were reactions from colleagues, friends and family when you were vaccinated?
A lot of my friends are also colleagues and they were actually hanging out in the background, watching me get vaccinated, because I was the first one. Everyone was pretty excited, but it wore off pretty quickly because they were next to get their shots and were excited for themselves. Mostly everybody couldn’t wait to get theirs.
Any negative reactions?
One person said that they wouldn't get their vaccine because they think it hasn't been researched enough. They were going to wait and see how the vaccine affects other people in the long term before they decide to get their family vaccinated.
Did you have any anxiety being immunized?
Yes, I was so nervous! I have anxiety normally, and knowing that I was going to be the first one out of all my coworkers to get it I was pretty nervous. I actually made the Public Health nurse giving me the vaccine wait a couple times because I was so nervous. Finally I just let her do it. I didn't even feel the actual injection.
Any side effects from either dose?
A sore arm with my first dose. After my second dose I had a low grade fever, muscle aches, headache, chills, and some pain and swelling at the injection site. Within 24 hours I was back to normal. Even with those side effects I have no regrets; I would choose the vaccine over COVID-19 any day!
What do you say to anyone who isn’t sure about being vaccinated?
My message for people unsure about getting the COVID vaccine would be that everyone experiences things differently. Not everyone will have the same side effects, or any side effects at all. Do your own research, ask another healthcare worker, go with your own instincts about the vaccine. Social media has a lot of misleading posts about vaccines for fear-mongering. Don’t believe everything you see on social media.
Brittany Favel, RN, poses with her Grandfather after their first COVID-19 vaccinations in Ile a la Crosse, January 6, 2021.