TARZANA, Calif. — As COVID-19 cases spike across Los Angeles, emergency room nurse Christina Seyfi is once again enduring long shifts at Providence Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Tarzana.

“A lot of anxiety. It’s been challenging mentally, emotionally, physically,” Seyfi said.

What You Need To Know

  • Health care workers are under renewed pressure in the midst of the latest COVID-19 surge

  • The CDC announced that front-line health workers would be among the first to receive the vaccine

  • California is expected to receive 327,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by mid-December

  • That's well short of what would be needed to immunize the state's 2.5 million health care workers

The first few months of the pandemic were a scramble, trying to understand how the virus affects different patients. Seyfi recalls coming home to her husband each night drained, especially after seeing many of her patients battle COVID-19 alone.

“They’re in an isolated room, they’re alone so our part has been coming up with ways to give them that emotional support because their families aren’t there, we’re gowned up so they don’t even get to see our faces,” Seyfi said. “We came up with badges with our photos of us smiling to help, you know, humanize the experience.”

There were times a patient would come in too late, with the virus too advanced to treat, and seeing them in their final moments hit particularly hard for Seyfi. She was inspired to become a nurse after losing her father, who she took to the emergency room before he passed away six years ago.

“I experienced such compassion from the health care team, it really motivated me and right after I went into the field and I knew that’s where I belong,” Seyfi said.

Seyfi is hopeful the burden of her sacrifices during this pandemic will be eased when a vaccine is approved and distributed.

The CDC said this week that health care workers like her would be first in line, in addition to staff at nursing homes. The state is receiving at least 327,000 doses by mid-December of the Pfizer vaccine, which is awaiting FDA’s emergency use authorization.  But that will not immediately cover all of the state’s estimated 2.5 million health care workers.
The timeline for distribution is very much up in the air, but Seyfi hopes to gets hers sooner than later.

“I just feel like I’d have extra protection, like an extra shield,” Seyfi said. “It’s also a new vaccine so I’m sure there are mixed emotions out there, however vaccines are proven time and time again to be helpful for our immune system and it’s going slow down the spread,” Seyfi said.