INDIANAPOLIS — Health care workers are exhausted after spending 10 months of 2020 dealing with COVID-19, but they have hope for 2021 now that vaccine distribution is underway.
Lorian Tharpe, an IU Health respiratory therapist, told WRTV she is hopeful, but she still wants people to take the coronavirus and the guidelines to stop its spread seriously.
"I'm a respiratory therapist at IU Methodist. I was actually the RT on the floor that first encountered all the COVID influx," Tharpe said.
Despite knowing more about COVID-19 and how to treat since the beginning, Tharpe said her job is still tough.
"I would say it has gotten easier, but it definitely hasn't and a lot of it is the emotional aspect as well as the physical." Tharpe said. "I've been on the phone with family members just because these patients can't talk because they're gasping for air. You try to be there for the patients and family members. It really takes a toll on you but you have to do your job."
COVID-19 vaccines have become thee game changer for those in health care. Nearly 76,000 people have received their first in Indiana as of this articles publishing.
Tharpe is scheduled to get one in January because she's one of the hundreds of thousands of frontline healthcare workers who have contracted the virus.
"I have not gotten it because I did get COVID and they want us to wait and make sure the people who haven't gotten it get the vaccine before we do which I'm perfectly fine with. It really does bring hope for us," Tharpe said.
While there is a lot of hope, Tharpe knows it's going to be a while before everyone is able to get vaccinated. She says she's going to keep on sharing what she's going through as a healthcare worker, hoping her story saves lives.
"I want them to know what I'm going through and it really helps me cope as well. Some people, I change their minds. I'm glad that I've spoken up and as many lives I can change, I will."