Catya Kurban: I am Child Life Specialist with Cystic Fibrosis and Received a COVID-19 Vaccine

This written interview was completed by Catya Kurban, a young woman living with cystic fibrosis who recently completed her masters in science (Child Life and Family Centered Care). She is a patient-facing healthcare worker.

1) why did you get the vaccine?

I recently graduated with my masters in science studying Child Life and Family Centered Care. I spent the majority of 2020 completing my clinical internship at Tufts Children’s Hospital and have continued to help out since graduating. Since March, my CF center has been hosting weekly webcasts to provide information and clear up any misconceptions regarding COVID-19 and statistics around the world. News about the vaccine had been discussed many times in a transparent and matter-of-fact manner. I knew I wanted the vaccine because 1) I believe in the science of vaccines 2) working in a hospital setting puts me at greater risk. 3) I wanted to protect myself and those around me. 

2) did you talk with your doctor?

Yes. During the height of the pandemic in the Spring of 2020, my care team and I decided it would be in my best interest to pause my clinical internship during the first shut down when so much was unknown. This Fall I made a plan with my pulmonologist and supervisors to return to my internship. The vaccine made me feel safe while I continued my work at Tufts. When I was told I qualified to receive the vaccine, my pulmonologist was one of the first people I contacted. 

3) did you talk to anyone else with CF who had the vaccine?

I honestly did not know of anyone with CF who had gotten it yet. I read the blog post from your website about a nurse who has CF getting it and that definitely made me feel better about it.

4) were you nervous?

At first I was not at all, but then when the day came I started to think: “Oh my goodness, I’m going to be in that small percentage of people that has a bad reaction to it.” Luckily, I only had about 3 hours to really get nervous because there was an available appointment the same day I called. I knew I wouldn’t be as nervous after I physically received the first dose and I was right. 

5) how did you feel about it?

It was (and still is) honestly an incredibly humbling feeling to be vaccinated (or half vaccinated right now). I am grateful to be able continue my work and protect myself and others. To be honest though, I felt a little guilty receiving it at first. I know there are people who should have access to it and don’t. For example, my own father who is a dentist, only received his first dose yesterday. Dentist should have had higher priority than me. However, I remind myself that I did not cheat my way into receiving the vaccine. It was offered to me because of what I do, which is completely unrelated to CF. Not only will the vaccine protect me, but it will also benefit the patients and families I work with. Also, I have the pleasure of working alongside a hospital service dog who always eases my anxiety and really helped the day I got it. (Check out his IG @bobthedogtuftschildrens shameless plug, but you won’t regret it!!)

6) do you think people should get it?

If they are physically able to and their doctors agree with their decision, I really think people should get the vaccine. It’s like the flu shot, you not only get it for yourself but also for all the people around you.

7) when is your next one?

My second dose will be at the end of January.