After getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Montandon resident Teresa Meisinger has planned a trip to South Carolina at the end of April to see her son and grandchildren for the first time in more than a year.
The 63-year-old said she feels safe enough to travel since she and her husband, Vincent, 65, have received both doses of the Moderna vaccine at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
“We take (the coronavirus) very seriously,” said Meisinger, who has faced many personal challenges in the past year.
Her father passed away in February 2020 and on March 9, 2020, she underwent surgery after suffering three brain aneurysms. In August, her 87-year-old mother, whom she hadn’t seen since the day before her surgery, died in a Northumberland County assisted living facility from COVID-19 complications.
A former emergency medical technician, Meisinger said she and her husband have complied with health guidelines during the pandemic.
“We ordered groceries online and the only time we went out was mostly for doctor appointments,” she said. “We did everything we could to stay in our own little pod.”
Meisinger has had limited contact with her three adult sons. In a normal year, she would visit her son, daughter-in-law and two young grandchildren in South Carolina several times, but due to COVID-19, they haven’t had physical contact since December 2019.
“Thank God for technology, (but) it’s not the same,” she said of virtual visits. “The reunion is going to be very emotional.”
Teresa and Vincent Meisinger were able to schedule both of their vaccinations at the same time on Feb. 7 and March 7.
She anticipated a long wait at the hospital but was surprised at how easy and quick the process went and how helpful staff was as they sat for 15 minutes after receiving the shots.
“It was overwhelming when I walked into the room” where the vaccination was administered. “I was thinking of my mom. I told the nurse not to be surprised if I cry,” Meisinger said.
Both she and her husband felt soreness at the injection site in their arms after receiving the first shot. Vincent Meisinger had no adverse reaction following the second vaccine, but Teresa Meisinger said she had arm soreness, chills and fatigue for one day.
“I’m doing great now. I’m 100 percent back to normal. I feel fine and I’m very blessed,” she said, urging others to get vaccinated.
“The concern should be focused on COVID, not the vaccine,” said Meisinger, who continues to follow health guidelines by wearing a mask and keeping her exposure in public places to a minimum.
Dr. Stanley Martin, system director of infectious diseases at Geisinger, also stressed the importance of getting inoculated.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and evidence of community spread in recent weeks. This is concerning and shows that we can’t let our guard down against this virus. We must continue following preventive measures — like masking, physical distancing and good hand hygiene — and getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you’re able” to help stop the spread of the disease.
Martin said the best COVID-19 vaccine is the one that is available.
Meisinger said she’s pleased to be among the millions of Americans who have been fully vaccinated.
“I feel like we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, (but) I know we have a long way to go,” she said.