Giving the caregivers time to recharge
Viktor Pelle, business unit director, Immuno-Oncology, and also a physician, was compelled to volunteer during COVID after seeing for himself the efforts and sacrifices frontline workers have made to serve their patients; he began helping at a healthcare center in Budapest during the recent Easter holiday. “We are all looking forward to leaving this pandemic behind. Our dedicated doctors and nurses have been working nonstop to help ensure treatment for their patients,” Pelle said. “They, like so many others, have had to spend long days, weeks and months apart from friends and family. I hope that my contribution of time gives them help as well as some relief.”
Pelle, along with colleague Zeno Kuluncsics, director of the Medical Department, who also is a doctor, supports the vaccine center, where healthcare professionals have been working 13- to 14-hour days since December. As volunteer doctors, Pelle and Kuluncsics conduct triage assessments of people registered for the vaccine to determine their eligibility.
“I really appreciate being able to help in this way,” said Kuluncsics. “When I received the vaccine, I was among the first because I’m a doctor, and I realized that my help would be needed in the fight,” he said.
That opportunity came in the midst of the third wave. “Doctors working on the frontline also need time to recharge,” he added, “so by filling in for them two days a week, I’m hoping it gives them the much-needed rest that allows them to continue their work in helping patients.”
The company is a strong supporter of employees who volunteer. “I’m grateful that BMS has given me the flexibility to volunteer at the COVID vaccine center every Friday,” Kuluncsics said, adding that he also volunteers on Sundays and foregoes weekend activities with his family. “It motivates me and gives me hope that with each vaccine administered, we are able to save lives and get closer to having everybody receive the best and most timely treatment as before the pandemic,” he said.
Also volunteering at a vaccine center in Budapest is Eszter Bors, senior scientific advisor with the Medical Department, and a physician. “Knowing that during this pandemic my skills can help in any way, however small, gives me a great deal of satisfaction,” she said, and acknowledged the many challenges facing the world at this time in its history. “There are so many aspects of daily life where people need our help, and doing so costs us nothing. We get a lot of positive feedback from people when they come in for their vaccine; their gratitude and appreciation for our commitment gives me great motivation.”
After hearing that there were too few doctors to administer vaccines, Hajnalka Horvath, also a physician and a key account manager, registered to volunteer at the hospital in Veresegyház, near her hometown. “I’ve always liked helping others and in the current pandemic situation my conscience told me to volunteer,” she said. “I’m also part of the triage process, so my duty is to check the health condition of people waiting to be vaccinated to assess whether they can receive the vaccine or not. It feels great to actively contribute to the fight against the pandemic.”