(Guardian of Trinidad) A Trinidadian doctor who was among the historic first round of healthcare workers to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is advising citizens to put their fears aside and be vaccinated when it becomes available.
Mateus Fernandez, 28, an Internal Medicine Resident attached to the New York City hospital network, has witnessed the devastation of COVID-19 over the last seven months at first hand. On Thursday, it was among the first in the line to receive the Pfizer vaccine that became available to frontline workers days ago in the US.
Fernandez said while there was still a level of suspicion and hesitation regarding the vaccine, there was no cause for concern.
“I think in Trinidad, the population is very wary of taking vaccines. A lot of that is about losing trust with the healthcare system, so what we should do as healthcare professionals is setting the example and showing the people of Trinidad that we trust the vaccine and its take ourselves that has worked pretty well for us in the US. ”
During a swelling interview with Guardian Media, Fernandez explained that he had not experienced any harmful side effects other than the usual pain associated with being vaccinated.
“I feel a sense of relief that I have some kind of protection, some kind of antibody forming inside me as we speak. Honestly, that needle we use to vaccinate is literally the same needle, its size, the same small one we would use on newborns so it’s not like a big scary needle in truth. ”
The Government is continuing to work with the Pan American Institute of Health and the World Health Organization to determine which vaccine will be most effective.
However, arrangements have been made to receive them when they become available. An order for about 400,000 vaccines has been placed.
In the meantime, the young doctor explained that he will be based in the Hospital’s ICU ward on Christmas day and although his heart has stayed heavy from being away from his family over the holidays, it is comforting to know that he is can attend patients with the added protection of being vaccinated.
“There are so many studies on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, I definitely feel it’s the responsible thing to do especially being exposed to so many sick patients.”