Nurse Monica Calazans is the first vaccinated person in the country

At 54 years old and with a high risk profile for COVID-19, she did not stop working in hospitals in the capital of São Paulo

dom, 17/01/2021 - 17h35 | Do Portal do Governo
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Nurse Mônica Calazans, 54, is the first Brazilian in the country immunized with the Butantan vaccine against COVID-19. A black woman with a high risk profile for complications caused by the coronavirus, she did not stop working in hospitals in the capital of São Paulo to help save lives. For Mônica, the immunization campaign is an opportunity to start over for the entire population of Brazil.

“It is not just a vaccine. It is the restart of a life that can be fair, without prejudice and with the guarantee that we will all have the same conditions to live with dignity, with health and well-being”, said the nurse, who is obese, hypertensive and diabetic.

In May, when the first wave of the pandemic entered its peak phase in São Paulo, Mônica decided to apply for nursing vacancies with a fixed-term contract. Among several hospitals, she chose to work at the Instituto de Infectologia Emílio Ribas even though she knew she would be at the epicenter of the fight against the coronavirus. “The vocation spoke louder,” she said.

Início da Vacinação no Estado de São Paulo

Resident in Itaquera, on the east side of the city, Mônica works 12-hour shifts, every other day, at the ICU of Emílio Ribas, a reference hospital for serious cases of COVID-19. The sector has 60 exclusive beds for the care of patients with coronavirus, with an average occupancy rate of 90%.

A woman of many new beginnings, Monica worked as a nursing assistant for 26 years and decided to go to college at a more mature stage, obtaining her diploma at the age of 47. “Whoever takes care of the other has to be determined and cannot be afraid. Of course I have been very careful in the whole pandemic. I need to be healthy to be able to dedicate myself. Whoever has a gift for taking care of the other knows how to feel the pain of the other and never leaves him”, she said.

A widow, she lives with her son, aged 30, and takes care of her mother, who at the age of 72 lives alone in another house. For this reason, Mônica is thorough in the care of hygiene and distance both at work and at home – so far, none of the three have been contaminated by the coronavirus. Despite this, Mônica saw COVID-19 affect her family when her younger brother, who is a nursing assistant and is 44 years old, was hospitalized for 20 days due to the disease.

Despite the intense routine, the nurse maintains optimism and emotional balance. A Corinthians (a famous football team) fan, Mônica takes the time off at the hospital to watch the games and root for the club. She is also a fan of TV series and songs by Seu Jorge, the nurse’s favorite artist.

Monica relies on faith to maintain trust and says daily prayers for herself, family, colleagues at work and, especially, for patients. “I always keep in mind that I cannot be beaten because patients need me. I always have a word of positivity and that we will get out of this situation. What also helps me is the pleasure I feel with my work”, she concluded.

First vaccinator

The first vaccinator in Brazil is also a woman and a nurse. Jéssica Pires de Camargo, 30, works in the Disease Control Coordination and has a master’s in Public Health from hospital Santa Casa de São Paulo.

With a history of work in vaccination clinics and Health Surveillance units, Jessica has already applied thousands of doses in SUS campaigns against yellow fever, flu, measles and other diseases. For Jessica, the beginning of vaccination against COVID-19 is a historic milestone in her career and, above all, for Brazil.

“I didn’t expect to be the person to apply this first dose. This fills me with pride and hope that more people will be protected from COVID-19 and that other professional colleagues will be able to feel the same satisfaction that I feel being part of it. There are more than 52 thousand health professionals mobilized in this campaign and each one should receive due recognition”, said Jéssica.