Utah public health nurse says helping with COVID-19 response is part of her purpose in life

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SANDY, Utah (ABC4) – More than 281,000 Utahns have received the COVID-19 vaccine. But behind each person who gets the vaccine, is the healthcare worker administering it.

“In this lifetime, I can say I was a part of this pandemic response,” said Lee Cherie Booth, a public health nurse for the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Friday, Booth received her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It doesn’t hurt yet, probably will later. But it was great,” Booth said.

She said getting the vaccine brings added protection.

“It does give me a little peace of mind that I’m vaccinated,” Booth said.

At the Mountain America Expo Center, Booth said nurses vaccinate around 1,500 people daily. That number is expected to increase as more vaccines are available.

Part of Booth’s current responsibility is to help administer and vaccinate those eligible for the vaccine.  

“I just remember the first day that we gave vaccines, there was a line out the door, down the hallway, and people were with smiles on their face and it was like a joyful time and an end in sight to this pandemic,” Booth said.

As part of Salt Lake County’s public health response to the pandemic, Booth is helping where she can.

“A year ago, I started with contact tracing and testing all of these patients,” she said. “And then recently, I moved over to vaccinations.”

Since mid-December, she’s helped with the county’s vaccine efforts and says it can be stressful but rewarding.

“I feel like this is my purpose to be here and to help the community. And it just kinda fulfills me,” Booth said.

A spokesperson told ABC4 that the Salt Lake County Health Department has 150 paid nurses who help vaccinate Utahns as well as other medical professionals who are licensed to give shots (e.g., advanced EMTs). Volunteer vaccinators will join their response efforts soon.

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