It was a quiet group—the folks who just received their COVID-19 vaccines.

As they sat in socially distanced chairs for 15 minutes of observation, people checked their phones, read books or looked around the room.

And then Kathy Kammeraad, a respiratory therapist, broke the stillness.

“OK, everyone,” she called out. “Since you got your shot, you are now an honorary member of the Spectrum Health rowing team.”

She broke into song, waving her arms as she led the group in a unique version of a childhood classic:

“Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the lake.

The more you move your arm today,

The less it’s going to ache.”

People looked up and smiled. They rowed their arms. They sang along with Kammeraad.

And they got the message—delivered with a song and smile: Moving their arms can prevent soreness after an injection.

“It’s fun,” Kammeraad said with a laugh. “I’m just a silly girl. I don’t know enough to be embarrassed.”

As a singing respiratory therapist, Kammeraad combines a love of song, rhyme and health care to bring a noteworthy performance to Spectrum Health’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

On a recent Friday, while working at a clinic at New Hope Baptist Church, she performed for an appreciative audience.

“She did a great job,” said Carol Claybrook, who had just received her second dose of the vaccine.

The playful approach served as a good reminder to move her arm after the injection, she said.

“It’s entertaining while we are sitting here waiting,” she added. “And we need all the fun we can find now.”

For Mary and James Moore, the songs brought back fond childhood memories—especially “The Hokey Pokey.”

“It made me feel enthusiastic,” Mary said. “I was singing along with her. It makes the whole experience of being here fun.”

‘The Hokey Pokey’

Kammeraad, who has worked for Spectrum Health for 30 years, usually cares for patients at Zeeland Community Hospital. She performs pulmonary function tests and delivers breathing treatments.

Sometimes, she cares for patients with COVID-19 who are on ventilators.

After seeing people struggle with illness, she finds it rewarding to help at the vaccine clinics, in hopes of keeping people healthy.

Adding the songs came naturally for her.

Her father was a square dance caller. And as a child, Kammeraad toured the country with her family, performing square dances.

“It’s in my blood to perform,” she said.

After a quiet 10 minutes, she decided it was time for another song.

“Show me your shot arm,” she asked the group.

People raised their arms.

And then she burst into her own version of “The Hokey Pokey.”

“You put your shot arm in.

You put your shot arm out.

The more you move your arm today,

The less you’re going to pout.”

Again, plenty of smiles.

And even after the song ended, patients continued to stretch and move their arms.

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