Since the first day of the Covid-19 pandemic declaration in March last year, there has been one constant figure in all efforts to fight the dreaded disease: the medical front-liner.

Photo: FRONT-LINER. Manila Health Department nurse Jing Herrera carefully prepares the Covid-19 vaccine to be administered at the San Andres Sports Complex on Thursday (July 8, 2021). She said nurses and doctors get tired but errors are isolated cases as they think of nothing but providing quality service. (PNA photo by Marita Moaje)

Faced with the enormous task of treating Covid-19 patients, they are not exempted from committing mistakes, especially when they are exhausted.

The June viral video of a Makati City volunteer nurse who forgot to inject the vaccine even if the needle was inserted into the recipient’s arm was an example of a tired worker who made an error.

“Sometimes nagkakaron siguro talaga ng mga ganung pangyayari. Pagod na kasi ‘yung mga tao kaya humihingi na lang kami ng pang-unawa sa public (things happen. The nurse may have been really tired so we ask for the public’s understanding),” Jing Herrera, nurse coordinator of the Manila Emergency Operations Center, told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday during the vaccination of seafarers at the San Andres Sports Complex.

Herrera said human errors, like the one in the Makati video, are bound to happen but they are few and far between and are isolated cases.

At the Manila Health Department (MHD), Herrera said they make sure that they get enough rest and alternate schedules are followed.

Kami dito para magkaron ng quality ng pagbabakuna ang mga nurses namin, binibigyan namin sila ng time para makapagpahinga kasi alam namin pagod na ang lahat (To assure quality in our vaccination program, we give our nurses time for rest especially because we know that everyone is already tired),” Herrera said.

She said they have teams A and B in every vaccination site.

The MHD staff, just like in other local government units, have been deployed since the first day of the pandemic.

“From day one, kami na ‘yung nagre-respond sa mga tanong.Tapos nung dumami na yung mga nag-positive, we have quarantine facilities, kami pa rin ang kumukuha, nagdadala. Then after that, bakuna na, kami pa rin. So hindi kami nawala sa field (we were the ones who have been answering queries. Then when the number of cases went up, we were the ones bringing the patients to quarantine facilities. Now with the vaccination program, we are still here. We have always been on the field),” she said.

Aside from the physical exhaustion, Herrera said another challenge they face every day is explaining misconceptions about the vaccine.

May mga tao kasi na ang feeling nila, ‘pag binakunahan sila, hindi na sila magkaka-Covid-19 (There are people who think that they will no longer contract Covid-19 if they are already vaccinated),” she said.

Dr. Estelita Bangate, also of the MHD, said risks are part of their profession but their passion, dedication, and the will to serve keep them on their toes.

She said they are also fortunate that they have families who support them and understand their jobs.

“Never ko na-isip na sumuko na kahit sobrang hirap kasi sinumpaan namin tungkulin yun eh. Trabaho ko yun eh. Kasama talaga. Nagkataon lang talaga na nagkaron ng pandemic ngayon (I never thought of quitting even if it is very difficult because it is what we signed up for. This is part of our job. It just so happened that the pandemic struck),” she said. (Marita Moaje, PNA)