LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Medical staff across the world are hard at work administering the first wave of the COVID vaccines. In Lafayette, hospitals celebrated with the arrival Thursday with signs and confetti, but for one nurse it was also a time to reflect.
Health care workers have been the front-line defense against coronavirus all year, often becoming sick or quarantined themselves from exposure, but Thursday they got a shot in the arm. Nurses like Cyd Begnaud gave the Pfizer vaccine to any employee of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center who wanted it.
“It was like giving them a shot of gold. They were so excited about it,” Begnaud said. She is retired but works as needed during the pandemic. She is part of a team called Healthy Lives that assists employees with their health.
Those most at risk are in critical need of protection. This week, national records broke for coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths. One patient brought Begnaud face to face with how her life was once saved. Her former oncologist, Dr. Joseph Brierre.
“20 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and just terrified, and he treated me for the about nine months that I had my treatments, and he was always there,” Begnaud recalled. “He was very consoling. He was very comforting and always gave me hope that things would be bright.”
She imagines it’s an everyday occurrence that the humble doctor meets survivors he’s taken care of, but it was a full-circle moment for Begnaud to further his care so he can keep saving others like her.
“He saved my life 20 years ago, and me giving him this injection today, I hopefully could help save his,” Begnaud stated. “For me to be able to sit with the man who soothed me, comforted me, gave me hope, and here I had in my hands hope for him.”
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are rolling out to health care workers and high-risk Americans first. Availability for the general public is expected in 2021.