Published: March 15, 2021
Meet Amy: #BSFBeatCOVID19
Meet Amy. She’s an Army spouse, mom of two, and a registered nurse. Throughout her career, Amy has worked in a number of diverse nursing roles—from pediatric hematology and oncology to her current role as a school nurse in Virginia. Despite her diverse training background, Amy found herself struggling right along with the rest of the world when the pandemic hit.
“I remember being called together in school for a staff meeting,” Amy said. “We were told no students would be coming to school the next two days so we could plan for how to move forward with learning. By the end of the day, two days of no students turned into four weeks with no students. A week later, the four week break turned into the entire school year in person being cancelled. Schools are the safest place to be for many kids. It really hit me then, if we were not safe enough to be in schools, this must be serious.”
While the pandemic has been challenging for everyone to navigate, military families often face unique situations that can create additional struggles. Postponed moves, extended deployments, and not being able to travel to family or have them come to you are just a few examples. And we know that when there’s stress at home, and service members are worried about how their family members are managing, mission readiness suffers. With Amy’s spouse deployed for part of 2020, two young kids now at home full time, and the constantly changing information about the pandemic, she did her best to ground herself in facts and as much understanding as possible.
“The experience of the past year has been unimaginable, even as a healthcare provider,” Amy said. “You learn so much and are trained for so many different situations in school, but this was never one of them. I am also so unbelievably inspired by how fast scientists and the medical community started tackling the problem. It shows how far scientific discovery and modern medicine have come. It shows how much can be accomplished with shared or common goals.”
That admiration for science and discovery helped inform Amy’s decision when she was given the option to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, sharing, “The reality is that it isn’t going away unless we are proactive about it. We have been “safer at home” for a year now with minimal results. The vaccine is our chance to change the outcome.”
And while many military families are hesitant to help create that change (71% reported distrust of the vaccine development as their reason not to vaccinate, according to a recent Blue Star Families Pulse Check), Amy’s medical background and understanding of the science helped her feel safe doing so. “I wish that people knew that although the COVID vaccine itself is new, vaccine research and development is not,” Amy said. “Even the mRNA technology is not new in the medical field. With the development of this vaccine, researchers were not starting from scratch. The benefit of this being a global epidemic is that we are working toward a global solution. This is not just one or two pharmacy companies trying to develop the next big thing. This is companies, researchers, and scientists from around the world sharing information for a common goal.”
The other major consideration for Amy was her circumstances. As her spouse deploys frequently, she is the primary caregiver of their children, so being there for her kids is always Amy’s number one priority. And, as so many military spouses quickly learn during deployments, things tend to not always go as planned (this is referred to as Murphy’s Law of Deployment). For Amy, the idea of getting sick, or worse—being hospitalized, while her husband was away, leaving her kids without parental care, made any short-term side effects worth the risk.
“I need to take care of myself so that I can take care of my children and my spouse can focus on his mission,” Amy said. “I realize that because I am part of the medical community, I have a deeper understanding of the vaccine and a different point of view when it comes to things like this. But as a regular person and a parent – even as a spouse, I want to take care of myself so there is one less thing to worry about in the long list of things military families can be worried about.”
Amy’s right about military life being stressful as it is. Service members need to feel confident their family members are safe, healthy, and supported at home. That way, they can stay focused on the mission. For Amy, getting the vaccine was her way of helping accomplish that mission.
Together with our Blue Star Partners, we’re arming our military community–service members, families, veterans, leaders, organizations, and supporters–with information to make informed decisions about the vaccine. We’re doing this by removing barriers and improving access to the information needed to protect everyone against the virus. Join us at bluestarfam.org/beatcovid19, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #BSFBeatCOVID19.