‘A lot more hopeful’: Public health nurse looks toward herd immunity for COVID-19 | TheUnion.com

‘A lot more hopeful’: Public health nurse looks toward herd immunity for COVID-19

Diane Miessler, a Nevada County public health nurse, said she has been encouraged by the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.

Miessler has worked for the county for six years, and currently works primarily with the Senior Outreach Nurses program.

This program provides health services — including health and safety assessments, fall prevention education, and medication education/management resources — to Nevada County residents 60 and older.

Currently, she said, much of her work is done over phone calls rather than in-home visits due to the pandemic.

On her outlook for the near future, Miessler said she is “a lot more hopeful“ after receiving one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far, and expecting to receive a second dose early next month, a step toward making more visits in her work.

“I’m just really hoping that enough people get it, especially in this county, to give us herd immunity,” said Miessler. “I’m feeling hopeful that things will be more normal in the summer.”

During the pandemic, Miessler’s work has also expanded to include COVID-19 case investigation, an area she said has brought her into contact with a wide variety of perspectives across the county.

In this role, she receives reports immediately after people test positive for the virus, and calls to inform them and collect exposure information.

“You see the whole gamut, from people who don’t believe they have it because they don’t have any symptoms, to people who are devastated because someone died,” said Miessler.

She added that she has spoken to people experiencing varying severity of symptoms, “people who thought they just had allergies, and some who are sicker than they’ve ever been in their lives.”

Recounting the process of being vaccinated, which included a 15-minute observation period directly afterward, Miessler added that she felt “very safe” due to confidence in the development process.

“They did the safety checks simultaneously, but they did them all,” she said, referring to the vaccine’s development. “It’s been very well tested.”

She said adverse effects are, for the most part, predictable, consisting of “rare allergic reactions which are treatable, mainly arm soreness for a day or two, and some malaise that shows your immune system is ramping up.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.


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