Q&A with Fastaff Nurse Maritza - The First RN to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine in NJ

December 22, 2020

During this historic and hopeful time during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continually thrilled to hear when our many tireless nurses and healthcare providers receive the vaccine. We were excited to find out that our travel nurse, Maritza B., was the first nurse in the state of New Jersey to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more about her experience and perspective in the interview below.  

1. What was it like being the first nurse to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in New Jersey? Exciting! I remember during the height of our first wave, praying for a miracle & wishing for an end to this nightmare.  Being the first in New Jersey [to receive the vaccine] was one of the nicest honors my institution could have ever given me. 

2. What made you decide to take the vaccine? Given the nature of this disease and the number of critical patients I have taken care of during it, I wanted peace of mind.  Although I am living proof that PPE works, it is by no means a way of life.  I wanted to feel safe and to know that I would not be infecting others unknowingly. 

3. Is there anything you want to share with your fellow healthcare providers? Whether you are a new nurse or a veteran, most all of us chose our nursing career for the ability to help those who are in need. Now more than ever, our communities and healthcare establishments are in need! I think of the devastation caused to families that have lost a loved one not because it was an expected outcome, but because a disease came out of nowhere to steal their lives.  For me it is important to keep this perspective in the forefront because nursing does not just end at the patient level, but also extends outwards to the families experiencing such loss.  If in any small way we or I can soften that blow, then we’ve made a lasting impression of our field that can be the difference in either trusting our profession or not.    

4. How do you think the vaccine will change the current healthcare environment? Vaccines have been around for a very long time.  Without them we wound still have Polio, small pox, and a host of other diseases that either cripple or kill.  COVID-19 is no different. I think this vaccine will allow us to return to a state of normalcy in our lives but most importantly in the lives of the general public.  It will allow us to refocus on what continues to need our help and attention, such as cancer, heart, lung, surgical, and a host of other specialties too long of a list to mention.   It will allow us the healthcare workers to continue to do these things without the underlying fear of taking this virus home to those we love and go back to grassroots nursing.