Traveling nurse on COVID in South LA, vaccine skepticism among physicians

ER case manager Myaha Tovar, 24, is given the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, in South Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 17, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson.

LA County became the first in the nation to hit 1 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. Traveling UC nurse Cherie Perry-Smith is stationed at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South LA. She previously worked in Georgia, Florida and Texas.

She describes the situation at her LA hospital: “It was a 10-bed ICU, and then it was expanded to 20. And now they're at 35. And we're still expanding. So it serves a community of 1.8 million in Compton, so it’s really hard. … The community is being rocked very, very heavily.” 

Nearly one year into the pandemic, Perry-Smith says it feels like there is no respite, but she hopes vaccines will help with herd immunity. The challenge is skepticism, she notes, even among nurses and physicians. 

“I've had both of my doses now. But I think that that's going to be a problem with getting the pandemic under control is the apprehension to get vaccinated.”