Mayo Clinic Prairie du Chien staff gets COVID-19 vaccine

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Mayo Clinic nurse Lori Waller was the first at the Prairie du Chien clinic to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Submitted photo)

By Correne Martin

 

Mayo Clinic Health System administered the first COVID-19 vaccine doses to physicians and patient care staff in Prairie du Chien on Jan. 5. The local staff were given the first of two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in hopes of changing the curve of COVID-19 in the community and region. 

“Getting the vaccine on site allowed staff to have minimal disruption in their day. We maintained operations and continued to see patients all day,” shared Madalyn Buschman, operations manager of the Prairie du Chien clinic. “Having this available to us is certainly something we’ve long awaited.”

Lori Waller, longtime registered nurse and care coordinator at Mayo Clinic-Prairie du Chien, was the first of 20 staff members to receive the vaccination last Tuesday. She said she felt very proud to be the first at the clinic. 

“I’ve never been so hopeful for a vaccine in my life. I experienced minimal discomfort; it was like any other vaccine I’ve received,” Waller said. “For me, I’ve been trying to do what’s right. I stay home, wash my hands, wear my mask, and I just feel this is something else I can do to keep myself, my patients, coworkers and community safe. It’s the first step in maybe regaining some normalcy in 2021.”

Waller recognizes that, as a new vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine may stir up misgivings for some people. But, she said she’s more fearful of the virus than receiving the vaccine.

“I feel it’s going to keep me safe and protect me and my family and loved ones,” she stated. 

“This is a way for our staff to slow the spread of this virus and hopefully get ahead of this pandemic,” Buschman said.

The Prairie du Chien stop was the first of many vaccine deliveries outside of the La Crosse area last week, as staff in other Mayo locations like Tomah, Sparta and Arcadia were also immunized. 

The vaccine’s arrival to these rural clinics was very much a welcome one. Waller said, “Sometimes, we feel like we’re forgotten, and I think this will make our patients and community feel hopeful that this is coming soon to our area.”

Waller commented that there is no waiting list for patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time, and that the clinic will announce when it’s available. She’s optimistic that, since she and her colleagues received the first dose, it will inspire patients to come in and get the vaccine when it is open to different sectors of the public. 

“I talk to so many patients who haven’t seen people in so long, and they’re so lonely and want to be able to see their children, grandchildren and friends again,” Waller said. “This is a step so that, someday, down the road, they are able to resume getting together with their loved ones.”

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