NEW YORK (CMC):
As many in the world community, including the Caribbean community in New York City, express fear, reluctance, or hesitation about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, some Caribbean-born doctors and other doctors are urging community members to use the vaccine as soon as it is available.
In exclusive interviews with Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), at least three Caribbean doctors – a Trinidadian, a Guyan and a Vincentian – said that taking the vaccine was the correct and sensible course of action.
“It’s important that people take the vaccine,” said Dr. Yolande Thomas-Badal, a Trinidad-born internist and emergency doctor at Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York, who recently took the COVID-19 vaccine at her hospital.
“The vaccine is our first best defense against COVID-19,” added Dr. Thomas-Badal added, explaining 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 get infected,” she said, explaining, “I just got married and my husband will come (from Trinidad and Tobago).” and I don’t want him to get infected.
“You have to think about the other people you are with,” continued Dr. Thomas-Badal left. “To be on the front lines and see patients with coronavirus … and if anything helps me prevent coronavirus, I’ll do it.”
She noted that “many minorities have medical problems, such as diabetes, cancer and coronavirus [is] kill many of my people ”.
Dr. Thomas-Badal said some of their patients are reluctant to take the vaccine and said they don’t trust him.
Dr. However, Thomas-Badal emphasized that “education is our best defense”.
“A lot of people want to wait and see what happens (with the COVID-19 vaccine) but sometimes we just can’t wait,” she urged. “We have to find a way to build people’s trust.”
SAFE FOR EVERYONE
Dr. Clifford Young, a St. Vincent-born attending physician at Woodhull Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant and SUNY Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital in Central Brooklyn in the heart of the Brooklyn Caribbean community, said, “Black people in this country are afraid of this Vaccine, this vaccine is safe ”.
“I look at the data and the vaccine is safe,” he said. “Caribbean and black people should take the vaccine.
“We have the highest morbidity and mortality rates so we should take them,” said Dr. Young. “We suffer the most, we are a vulnerable population and we should be at the top.
“Should we be afraid of the vaccine? The answer is no, “said Dr. Young. “When it’s my turn, I’ll take it.”
Guyana-born Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, a physician trained in the medical school of St. George’s University in Grenada, said the Caribbean community should “embrace the vaccine and be amazed at the efforts made by the world’s scientists.”
“It is important to get out of our politics and see humanity as a species,” said Dr. Ramsammy.
On December 14, a Jamaican-born nurse made history by becoming the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sandra Lindsay, 52, an intensive care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York, received the vaccine, according to a statement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The statement said that Guyana-born Dr. Michelle Chester, Northwell Health Director of Health Services for Employees, gave the vaccine to Lindsay, a frontline health care worker eligible to receive the vaccine under the first phase of the New York vaccine distribution plan.