Voices from the Covid frontline in Australia: educator and pharmacist | Coronavirus


Kaitlyn lonard

Childcare supervisor, Liverpool, Sydney

It is essential that we take care of young children, so that their parents can do their own essential work. Many of the parents we have work in old age care centers, supermarkets and hospitals.

At first there was some nervousness about interacting with people during a pandemic, but we have a lot of precautionary protocols in place. We’re particularly limiting interactions with parents, so we’ve started doing a lot more online. There is still a little concern, as it is an uncertain time. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

We have excellent relationships with the families of our children. They trust us, that their children will be happy and safe. We have a job to reassure parents. We need to maintain constant communication.

I am fully vaccinated. My employer informed us of where we can get vaccinated, but they didn’t make it mandatory. The reason I chose to be vaccinated was to protect myself and my family, as well as the children and their families at the center. It’s about knowing that everyone can be a little bit more secure and protected.

Containment has had its ups and downs. It’s hard not to see family, siblings, and friends. It gave me time to work on myself and on my personal development.

This way of life is becoming the new normal. We just have to get around it. We just have to do everything in our power to follow the rules so that we can get back to normal. It’s not just about taking action for yourself, but for everyone. Everyone wants to be able to spend Christmas at the table with their family.

I look for the rules and I listen to the facts, and I know the case numbers every day, so I know what to do. But I try to stay away from the media, for my own mental state. To try to keep a certain normality.

I do not envy the government and the position it occupies. At work, we receive a lot of support from our management team. I am grateful for the family we have around us in our sister centers. It seems to be very different from other workplaces, in that they support us in any way we need to.

What worries me the most is making sure the families we care for feel secure and that they are not in the throes of uncertainty. The constant changes in state government make people fearful. It is difficult to understand everything. And the moment you realize it, something new is happening.

I think what I miss the most is just getting into nature with my family and friends. I am a great bush walker. I like to swim at the beach. The 5 km rule limited all of this to a simple morning or afternoon walk.

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Georges adattini

Community Pharmacist, Broadway, Sydney

Chemist George Adattini said the community response to drugstore vaccinations “has been tremendous”. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins / The Guardian

In Covid, the way people access their health care has changed. More and more people are seeing their doctor online. They stay at home, trying to have as little contact as possible. We’re taking more phone consultations and offering a lot more contactless deliveries.

During confinement, my role and my workload changed, with this change in the way we operate and also the recent adoption of the vaccine against the Covid. We are also doing more to educate the public about the benefits and risks of the vaccine. Starting the vaccinations has made my job a lot more demanding, but I get a lot of satisfaction from it.

Since the recent epidemic, security related to Covid has become a priority. I am always careful that I am more at risk, or that I might pose a risk to patients who are more vulnerable. I take comfort in the fact that I get tested every three days. But at the same time, you are still edgy and cautious; wear appropriate PPE, change at appropriate intervals. We have more guards in place than before and have changed the layout of the store. We are all much more aware of this.

I am fully vaccinated. I had my second vaccine two months ago. It was important because I am more at risk and I did not want to take any risks. I didn’t want to endanger the vulnerable patients who go through the pharmacy. I was protecting my family and myself.

In the health sector, we had to adapt massively, which was difficult. It would have been great to see community pharmacies involved in the vaccination effort much earlier, as the uptake and response from the community has been tremendous.

On a personal level, it’s hard not to see my family. I haven’t seen my grandmother or my parents face to face for months. It’s difficult. I especially miss the long walks with my wife to explore the great Sydney and the hikes in the Blue Mountains.

It’s such a weird time. You also miss the little things, like walking outside without having to wear a mask and without having to also pay attention to everyone’s proximity or to the people you are walking around. I am a very loving person. It’s so weird that you can’t shake someone’s hand, hug or kiss.

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