By Sue-Ann Wayow
HERE is the stories of two Trinidad and Tobago nationals – medical doctor and a first emergency responder – who were administered the vaccine in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) respectively.
And they are encouraging others to not be afraid of the jab.
In the UK, Dr Claude Khan was administered the Pfizer/BioTech vaccine some two weeks ago.
Khan travelled to the UK last year and is currently awaiting to return to T&T.
More than two million people have already been vaccinated in the UK with either the Pfizer vaccine or the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine. The vaccine is being given in the priority order of elderly individuals and people on the medical frontline.
Khan described the process he underwent to AZPNews.com.
He said, “Practices are sending out letters to all their over 80’s and they are being invited to come to various ‘hubs’ where people are being vaccinated.
“You don’t have to make an appointment but if on the day there are a lot of people there would be a waiting time. The process takes about 30 to 45 mins. The vaccination is administered after some basic screening questions and you are asked to wait for 15 mins to make sure there are no reactions.”
He continued, “The vaccination is given in the right or left upper arm into the muscle. The process was relatively painless.”
For him, he received the vaccine in the muscle of his left upper arm and it was administered at one of the London Vaccination Hubs at the Waldron Health Centre in New Cross London.
“The actual vaccination was relatively painless,” Khan said.
He said he received no side effects since receiving the vaccine and his second shot is due in a few weeks time.
Khan said, “I decided to have the vaccination as I believe the science is solid that the vaccine is safe and will eventually be the solution to the Covid pandemic. The Covid-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from Covid-19 disease.
“It may take a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine. Being a frontline worker I felt that it was very important for me to take the vaccination to give me extra protection against Covid and also decrease then possibility of spreading Covid to my patients and family members.”
He added that any vaccination can have side effects which may be why individuals would be against having one, but most symptoms were mild and short term.
Khan said, “I would encourage everyone to consider having the vaccination when it becomes available in T&T.”
And in the US, Carlstien Lutchmedial received the Moderna vaccine in New York City.
Lutchmedial, an emergency first responder, was administered the vaccine on the same day it became available in New York City.
Lutchmedial told AZPNews.com, he had all of the side effects including headaches three days after.
He said he had to register online at the New York City Department of Health’s website. Based on the criteria, people would be informed if they were legible or not and legible ones would be able to then choose a date, time and location to receive their vaccine.
Although he had an appointment, he had to wait about two-and-a-half hours to receive his vaccine when he arrived at a vaccination centre set up at Hillcrest High School located in Jamaica, New York.
He was administered the vaccine around 2.15pm and around 8 pm, the side effects started to kick in.
Lutchmedial said, “I believe in science. If I had to weigh the pros and cons of suffering and dying and the chance of living, that is what the vaccine offers, the opportunity to be protected from the coronavirus. The vaccine will certainly do more good than harm.”
A frontline worker during 9/11 when the World Trade Centre was attacked, Lutchmedial said this was the worst experience he has gone through apart from the pandemic.
To date, he has fully recovered from all side effects and also encourages everyone to take the vaccine as long as it is available, adding that he knew many who did not experience any side effects of the vaccine at all.
T&T is expected to receive its first set of vaccines in March from the COVAX facility.