COVID-19: Medical experts in the Caribbean encourage taking the vaccine

AS MANY in the global community, including the Caribbean community in New York, express fear, reluctance or hesitance about taking the Covid-19 vaccine, some Caribbean-born physicians and other medical practitioners are urging community members to take the vaccine when it becomes available.

In exclusive interviews with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), at least three Caribbean physicians – a Trinidadian, a Guyanese and a Vincentian – said taking the vaccine is the right and judicious thing to do.

“It’s important that people take the vaccine,” said Dr. Yolande Thomas-Badal, a Trinidadian-born internist and Emergency Room physician at Interfaith Medical Center in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, who recently took the vaccine at her hospital. 

“The vaccine is our first best defense from contracting Covid-19,” added Dr. Thomas-Badal, stating that she took the vaccine, because it “offers protection.

“Also, I have a 91-year-old mother, and I don’t want my mother to be infected,” she said, disclosing that “I just got married, on April 13, 2019, and my husband will be coming up (from Trinidad and Tobago), and I don’t want him to get infected.

“You have to think of the other people who you’re around,” Dr. Thomas-Badal continued.

“Being on the frontline and seeing patients with coronavirus; and, if there’s anything to help me to prevent coronavirus, I’ll do it.”

She noted that “a lot of minorities have underlying medical problems, such as diabetes, cancers, and coronavirus (is) killing a lot of my people.”

Dr. Thomas-Badal said some of her patients are reluctant to take the vaccine, saying that “they don’t trust” it.

But she stressed that “education is our best defense.” 

“A lot of people want to wait to see what happens (with the vaccine), but, sometimes, we just can’t wait,” she urged. “We have to find a way to boost people’s confidence.

“It’s good that the President-elect (Joe Biden) took it (vaccine) and encouraged people to take it,” she added. 

MAKING HIS POINT: US President-elect Joe Biden has taken the vaccine

Dr. Thomas-Badal said that, after taking the vaccine, she had a “slight induration”, in the area where it was administered, and “felt a little tired the next day, but it was gone.

“It’s an education thing,” she emphasised. “People have to be educated. You have to sit with people and explain how it (vaccine) works. We have to explain to others and even family members. 

“I want to get back to where we were – to gather, to sit and eat,” Dr. Thomas-Badal continued. “It may take a while, but I’m glad we have the vaccine.”

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