Right now Michael Kerr, a simulation coordinator in medical education in our Youngstown market, is starting to prepare for his most joy-filled role all year – playing Santa in his local community. And staying up to date on his COVID-19 vaccine keeps him ready to make merry all year long.
In fact, Michael encourages all his colleagues to get the booster vaccine.
“In health care we are all superheroes,” Michael says. “I feel having the immunizations gives us an extra level of protection, almost like a shield, a barrier or even a cape, like Superman.”
Michael, on several occasions during the heaviest waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, assisted with vaccine clinics and booster sessions in our three Youngstown hospitals. Additionally, all his family members and close friends received their initial vaccine as well as the additional boosters to help protect each other, particularly those with higher risk factors for irreversible damage if they caught the virus.
Michael’s love for his family dovetails with his passion for volunteering. He spent 18 years as a disaster medical assistance team member, serving around the world in the wake of disasters. Having seen devastation firsthand, he considers the COVID-19 pandemic a disaster, and workers on the frontline need protection.
In particular, it’s the boots he fills in December as Santa that remind Michael of the good and beauty in people. One such visit was with a 102-year-old nursing home resident several years ago. An image from his late evening greeting at her bedside was captured and the photograph went on to win a state photography award (pictured above).
“I start growing out my beard in June every year,” Michael said. “There is nothing much that compares to seeing faces light up when I visit them as Santa.”
He continues, “having my shots and two additional boosters gives me, my family and circle of friends a little more sense of security and protection against these ongoing variants that keep surfacing. I feel strongly that having an edge on something like this gives us the will to keep moving on with our lives.”
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.