TRUMBULL, Conn. (WTNH) — “I don’t want things to be held up by manpower when we got it, we’re ready to go,” says Shannon Pranger of Trumbull. That’s how she felt when she heard the health department was limited due to the lack of professionals available to administer Covid-19 vaccinations.
“I thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of crazy. I know a ton of nurses that would be willing to jump in, that’s easy,'” she says.
So, this nursing professor at Sacred Heart University put out a Facebook post reading, in part: “I know there are a ton of nurse moms on here that would be willing to volunteer their time to vaccinate their neighbors.”
Within minutes…hundreds of shares.
“My phone was blowing up! I kept saying to my husband, ‘What’s happening, what’s happening?'” she says.
Nurses like Ashley Balestriere and Elena Kokosa stepped-up for different reasons.
“I’m licensed as a registered nurse in the state of Connecticut, so, I knew that was one thing I could do very easily on my day off to help the effort,” says Balestriere.
“I have teenagers. Being in school, not being in school, grades, emotions – what an impact negatively it’s had on our kids,” says Kokosa, who just wants our youth to return to typical life.
It’s not just “nurse moms” who joined the effort. Pranger actually changed the post to include anyone and everyone.
“PAs, physicians…mid-wives,” says Pranger.
A database was given to the health department, including 40 medical professionals with licenses, ready to vaccinate, and 40 lay people willing to do administrative work or direct traffic, anything to assist.
“I never expected this response,” says Pranger.
The Trumbull Director of Health, Lucienne Bango, writes to News 8: “…we have reached out to some of the volunteers…It was very touching to see the community come together…”
“Every shift, people pass, it’s just horrible,” says Kokosa who saw her cardiac unit become a Covid ward. She believes the battle against the pandemic must be immediate: “There’s so much hope that we want to do this as fast as possible.”
Kokosa and Balestriere already worked at a clinic on Tuesday. The volunteers would love to help organize a big vaccine event when a larger supply of the shot becomes available.