From the Editor’s Keyboard

Vaccinate, or not!

2 March 2021 at 03:43 | 1138 views

By Dr. Nanah S. Fofanah-Sesay, Special Contributor, USA

Afters weeks of uncertainty and pondering over the pros and cons of the of the COVID-19 vaccination, the call that broke the camel’s back finally came at 6 PM on Wednesday February 3, 2021.

On the other end of the phone was the voice of a young lady from my primary care provider’s office.

The conversation was brief and it went like this:

Caller: Mrs. Sesay, this Dr. S. Office.

Dr. Nanah: Yes, what can I do for you?

Caller: We are giving the COVID-19 vaccination tomorrow at 8:45 am and 9:45 am. The location for the vaccination is different from the office.

Dr. Nanah: Pause for 2 to 3 minutes while thinking through this offer.

Caller waited patiently most likely considering the emotional strength its takes to make such a decision.

Dr. Nanah: Okay! I will come at 9:45 am tomorrow.

Caller: Okay! Thank you. I will put your name down. Do you know where "Knight of Columbus" on Richmond Highway is?

Dr. Nanah: Yes.

Caller: That is the location for the vaccinations tomorrow.

Dr. Nanah:Thank you.

Thursday, February 4, 2021.

The day of vaccination is finally here. I arrived at location at 9:30 am still wary and unsure of this decision.

Insider the Knight of Columbus.

Northern Virginia has a few "Knight of Columbus" locations but I noticed that this one is much bigger than the ones I have visited. This location will host approximately 2000 people.

But never mind the capacity of the building because on this day, the staff can only allow about 150 people at a time.

The Setup.

Very well organized and thought of. The site was divided into these sections:

1. The entrance: Participants were greeted and asked questions pertaining to symptoms of COVID-19.

Temperatures are taken on the forehead. If normal and with negative responses to symptoms of COVID-19, you will then be directed to stand on line observing the 6 feet apart protocol.

2. The registration station: Comprised of 3 registration staff members. These staff members will request for state ID cards for verification of schedule in their respective computers.

They will then provide you with 4 pages of adverse effect of COVID-19. The top pages is a questionnaire for autoimmune disease, reactions to medicine, and history of past COVID-19 Vaccination.

The registration staff will now direct you to the waiting area where participants wait until their names are called on the loud-speaker.

3. The waiting area: On a regular day, this area can hold 1500 people but on this day, staff can only allow about 100 people at a time.

4.The announcer sits in front of the waiting area while watching for eligible names to appear in the computer. Once your name appears, he or she will call the individual out.

5. The vaccination station: There were 4 vaccinations station. Each station is comprised of 3 staff members including the inoculator. I asked the vaccination staff many questions including what is the brand of the vaccination? Is it the live virus attenuated type? How have others reacted to the vaccine? The staff answered all my questions prior to injecting the "uncertain dose" on my right deltoid.

The injection was not painful and it was administered very fast.
As the nurse applies the bandaid on the injection site, I remember thinking

" I can’t believe I took this vaccine."

The nurse then asked me to proceed to the observation area. In addition she gave me a small piece of paper that indicated how long I will stay in the observation area.

6. The observation area holds about 50 people at a time with the strict social distancing protocol being implemented.

This area is equipped with staff who do the observations for allergic reactions while another staff member goes from table to table to schedule for the second dose of the " uncertain shot."

I did it.

I left the location without any complication and drove to Wegmanns. While walking inside the store, I felt a bit dizzy and somewhat discombulated. On that note I drank plenty of water and drove home.

I suffered a sore arm for 3 days: otherwise, no complications.

February 24, 2021!!!

This is the scheduled day for my second and final COVID-19 vaccination.

The process was a replica of the initial dose day except for an additional station for making appointments and checking outs.

I’m so relieved to finally release this elephant head from my back.

I look forward to a screeching halt to deaths related to the pandemic and the global eradication of the COVID-19 disease.

It is my recommendation for others to take the vaccine in order to prevent further deaths and complications related to the infection of the COVID-19 disease.