WINCHESTER, V.a. (WDVM) — In an effort to build confidence in the coronavirus vaccine amongst the public, dozens of doctors and caregivers came together on Tuesday at the Winchester Medical Center. The medical professionals were all given the vaccine by Valley Health.
This is a part of an ongoing effort by medical professionals to encourage the general population to get immunized once the vaccine is available to the public.
“I strongly believe in the science. I believe in Dr. Collins and Dr. Fauci, and all the physicians at Pfizer and Moderna. And I think this has been very well done,” said Dr. Benjamin Franklin Lewis, Jr., critical care physician. Lewis was also the first to receive the vaccine at the event.
Some doctors were inspired to participate by the strong negative reactions to the vaccine in certain communities. The African-American community, for example, which has a complicated history with medicine and hospitals, tends to be skeptical of vaccination.
“The reality is that black folks need to do it … We tend to have medical comorbidities that put us at higher risk of having bad outcomes if we get the virus,” said Dr. Terral Goode, medical director of trauma.
In terms of side effects, the doctors noted that patients may experience some discomfort or fever for a short period after getting the vaccine. But immediately after receiving the shot, all of the physicians reported they felt no ill physical effects.
“I feel fine. A little burning in the arm, but — as you can see from my badge — I get the flu shot every year, and it’s been no different than any other vaccine,” said Dr. Casey Dowling, physician anesthesiologist.
All parties vaccinated at the event are considered high-risk and work with COVID-19 patients on an almost daily basis. There is not currently a large enough supply of the vaccination for the entire population, so doctors are warning the public to not relax on any precautions.
“Be patient, wear your mask, do social distancing, and be very careful. We’re very close to a win on this disease, don’t give up being careful at this point in time,” said Dr, Lewis.
The physicians who were vaccinated were able to rest following the event, and will soon go back taking care of COVID-19 patients and encouraging others to receive the vaccine. All seemed to be grateful for the opportunity to participate in the historic event.
“What a great Christmas present for us,” said Dr. Lewis.