Plum Island woman plays small part in saving world

By Jim Sullivan [email protected] | The Daily News of Newburyport

An occupational health nurse recently made a vow to herself that she’d do whatever she could to help put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to some help from her employer, Fran Gerroir, who works at Occupational Health Connections in Methuen, has spent the past few weeks administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the very people who make it at the Andover facility.

Although the 78-year-old began cutting back her hours a few years ago, she decided to renew her nursing license for another year in 2020.

“COVID has taken away so much from the entire world,” Gerroir, who lives on Plum Island, said Tuesday. “I just want to be a small little speck that can say, ‘Hey, I gave some of that vaccine to people.’”

Gerroir said she is glad she kept her license.

“They have a sign at Pfizer that says, ‘Science Will Win,’” she said.

“They are an incredible group of people,” Gerroir said. “Every single person who I have met there has been unbelievable. The devotion and the time they have put into this is amazing.”

Gerroir said she expects to finish administering the second round of the vaccine to Pfizer employees this week.

“I would have to say, in my heart, that I want to get this vaccine out to whomever needs it as soon as I can,” Gerroir said. “The people at Pfizer are so excited just to be able to receive it. I am administering the second round right now and, when I am done, I hand them their card and say, ‘Enjoy your summer but don’t go crazy.’”

She said the employees at Pfizer know that simply being vaccinated doesn’t mean they can stop following social distancing guidelines and wearing protective face masks.

“Some of these people have been over there since the start of this whole thing,” Gerroir said. “Some of them are working 16 hours a day and it just amazes me that they continue to be able to do this.”

Gerroir stressed that she is merely a team player in a very large game, but added that being part of a mass vaccination program has left her very excited.

“I am so grateful that I have been able to do this,” she said. “You have absolutely, positively no idea how happy I am to be doing this. I’m going to miss not being able to give this.”

Gerroir said she has reached out to local municipalities to let them know she is available on a volunteer basis when they do conduct vaccination clinics.

“I have my CORI form filled out and all of that stuff is taken care of but no one has called me back yet,” Gerroir said. “I’m just grateful that I have been able to help, just a little bit. If I can continue to help, I would continue to be grateful. This is something that I firmly believe in.”