Frontline workers at Norwich’s Backus Hospital share stories of why they’re getting vaccinated

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– Many of the frontline workers receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine see things most people never will.

“He cried and it was very scary because it was new and he needed high flow oxygen for many days, and he would call his wife because she couldn’t visit and they were saying their goodbyes,” said Nurse Manager Theresa LaLonde, who works in a Med Surg Unit at Backus Hospital.

Michelle West is a critical care nurse. 

“It’s the hardest thing is to have them say goodbye to their families and ‘please don’t let me die.’ So that’s very hard to see,” said West, as she fought back tears.

Their patients and their families inspire them to add this tool to their fight to save lives and to honor those who were lost.  

“He look in my eyes like he show me ‘I don’t want to die.’ I feel that he’s scared. I pray for him but he cannot survive,” said Lino Fernandes, an environmental services aide at Backus Hospital.

He was the first of thirty frontline workers to get vaccinated Tuesday. 

“I feel nice. I feel good. I feel happy. I feel strong,” said Fernandes.

Tuesday Backus Hospital received 211 doses and it expects to get another one thousand next week. The more than two thousand frontline workers at this hospital could get their first of two doses at least over the next few weeks.

The vaccine comes from Hartford Hospital where it is kept in a freezer which can hold 260,000 doses.

“It can be out of that freezer for five days. It’s transported… enough doses that we can use in five days and transported to Backus,” said Donna Handley, Sr. V.P., Hartford Healthcare.

The workers hope to inspire others to be vaccinated. Just as they have been inspired to lead the way.

“We need to be done with this,” said LaLonde.

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