CHERRYFIELD, ME — The Mission Covid-19 vaccination trips aboard the Sunbeam have a unique hum of excitement. It is my honor to witness it from my little spot in the galley while trying to offer a little nourishment to the hardworking vaccination crew.
A little white cooler with a bright red lid transports among locations the cherished vials of Moderna vaccine. Everything is centered around this cooler. Handled with deference one would give bone china or an organ meant for transplant, the cooler is whisked through the Sunbeam salon, to-and-from Sharon’s boat office. There vaccine vials are stored in a special medical fridge with its sensors and record keeping.
While we are underway, the vaccination crew is often huddled, socially distant, double and triple checking numbers: vaccinations available, people signed up, ages, dates and appointment times. Because of time constraints with vaccine transportation, our travel time between islands is also a factor.
The vaccination crew make a lot of phone calls to coordinate it all. They make even more phone calls when the weather or vaccine availability sets up a speed bump.
I’ve seen Mission president, John Zavodny, preparing stacks of vaccination cards given to people once they’ve had their shots.
After an island clinic, Douglas Cornman returns to the Sunbeam with a stack of vaccination forms with information he needs to enter into the national database.
Nurses Sharon Daley and Maureen Giffin wear many separate pairs of blue gloves. They schlep their totes of medical supplies island to island for the pop-up clinics. Their totes are inventoried and replenished often. One tote is clear and holds – among other things – a big round clock that is an indispensable tool for the fifteen-minute wait everyone has after their inoculation.
People are grateful to be vaccinated. They laugh, cry, and dance. They love the “I’ve been vaccinated” stickers. One gentleman who had his first shot was wearing a t-shirt that said simply “vaccinated”. He was all smiles!