Calvin nursing grad among first to receive vaccine

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Photo Courtesy Gina Kamps

Kamps posted this picture of her to her Instagram, captioned, “Never been so excited for a shot #science #pfizerproud”

Calvin graduate Gina Kamps was one of the first Spectrum Health workers to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. For herself and others, the inoculation represents not just protection against the virus but also a return to normalcy.

“This vaccine is the first glimmer of hope we’ve had in a very long time,” Kamps said.

Kamps graduated from Calvin in 2012 and currently works in a pediatric intensive care unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Immediately after graduating, she worked at Blodgett Hospital on an orthopedic floor. But it wasn’t until she volunteered with Mercy Ships in Guinea that she realized she wanted to work with children.

COVID patients have not overwhelmed the PICU; however, Kamps has been pulled to the adult floors where the number of patients has stressed Spectrum Health’s capacity. 

 In three weeks, the PICU nurse will receive a second dose to inoculate her against COVID-19.

Spectrum Health administered the first five doses of the vaccine on Monday, Dec. 14. Kamps received hers the next day at the earliest available time, access she said she is grateful for.

“I can speak for the majority of healthcare workers, when I say we are all very excited, and we hope to see a drop in our super sick cases soon!” Kamps said. 

However, many are reacting to the new vaccine with skepticism, not relief. Kamps told Chimes that people have asked her if the development and research was rushed. Kamps called the research sound and encouraged those concerned to research the process further.

Skeptics are also concerned about the possible side effects. Following her vaccination, Kamps came down with a fever and chills. “These are the same side effects I get from getting routine vaccines and my flu shot every year,” Kamps said. “[It’s] still worth a bit of discomfort to prevent from getting really sick and to hopefully prevent others from dying from this virus.”

For Kamps and many more, the vaccine promises an end to families being unable to visit loved ones in the hospital and to overwhelmed ICUs. “This vaccine is literally history in the making,” Kamps said. “[The day I received the vaccine] was truly a day of hope, a day we have been longing to see since way back in March.”