La Crosse healthcare workers and nursing home residents talk about experience after getting COVID vaccine

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Phase 1A of COVID vaccinations in Wisconsin is gradually coming to an end.

Mayo Clinic and Gundersen Health System healthcare workers have already received both doses, while nursing home residents at Bethany St. Joe’s are still waiting for their second shot.

They say they feel just fine after receiving the vaccine.

“The shot itself did not hurt,” Jean Stavaneu, MCHS pediatrics R.N said. “It didn’t feel any different than any other vaccine that I’ve received in the past.”

“I did have about a day’s worth of some low-grade temperatures and a little bit of chills,” GHS D.O. Joshua Whitson said. “But really nothing that ibuprofen couldn’t take care of after the second one.”

“My arm was a little sore for about 24 hours afterwards,” MCHS R.N. Larry Dauffenbach said. “But besides that, I had absolutely no other issues with it.”

“In fact, I got both shots before my work shift,” MCHS C.M.A. Martha Tolvstad. “And I worked my eight-hour shifts with no problem whatsoever.”

M.D. Elizabeth Cogbill was the first Gundersen worker to get vaccinated.

“Getting the vaccine felt like a relief,” Cogbill said, who works in internal medicine. “Like it truly felt like we had entered a new part of this journey, one filled with hope.”

The nursing home residents would agree.

Temporary resident Dan Eumurian says the pain of the initial shot was minor.

“Piece of cake. I’ve been getting shots all my life,” Eumurian said.

So has resident Mary Jane Snow.

“I didn’t mind it at all, and it didn’t really hurt. And it didn’t hurt after either,” Snow said.

Getting the vaccine was a pretty easy decision.

“The science is there and tells us that’s the best choice for us,” GHS PA-C Rachel Keehner said.

“I just want to get back to normal life. I want to see my friends,” MCHS rehab services manager Sue Wilson said.

Some nursing home residents weren’t so sure in the beginning.

“Well, I didn’t want to do to it at first. But my children talked to me, and they really convinced me that I should get the vaccine,” Michealene Reedy said.

“They said everybody in here was getting it. And so, I thought, ‘well, if everybody else is getting it, I can too,'” Anna Thill said.

But others got it simply for their own health and safety.

“I just wanted to have protection so that if I got it (the virus), it wouldn’t be as bad,” Mary Savall said.

“I may be 86. But I figured I had a few more years to live. And I want them to be healthy,” Ginny Dockweiler said.

And Dockweiler’s granddaughter, Tia, even paid her a special in-person visit.

Ginny and Tia haven’t seen each other in-person in almost a year.

Not one person says they’ve experienced any severe allergic reactions.

Residents at Bethany St. Joe’s are expected to receive their second doses at the beginning of next month.