By Sylvester Robinson, Westside Gazette
The fear, misinformation, distrust, and apprehension surrounding the Corona Virus Vaccine can finally be put to rest. My experience regarding the vaccine for COVID-19, which I received this past Sunday at Mt. Hermon AME, my home church, simply fortified my confidence in science, medicine and humanity. Before getting a call to ascertain my desire or interest in having the vaccine administered, unlike many in our community who have expressed overt reservations because of pass atrocities perpetrated against us, i e, The Tuskegee Experiment, I was undeterred, completely confident and satisfied, willing to wait until essential personnel had been immunized such as health care providers, first responders, police officers, firemen, teachers, the elderly and our most vulnerable.
Waiting in a line of cars on some dangerous, busy street like Sunrise Blvd. had absolutely no appeal. Ironically, as I was composing this article, I received phone calls from two fraternity brothers, George King, who actually experienced the protracted wait on Sunrise to receive his vaccination and Sam Clear, who also inquired about my vaccine status, informing me of another site in the Pompano area. They were both pleased when I explained that I had also received the vaccine. From a personally, selfish vantage point, I am a reasonably healthy 73-year-old male with no serious pre-existing conditions other than high blood pressure which I deal with through medication and exercise. Even though I went to Tuskegee in the late sixties, the inhumane cruelty perpetrated against our people had no negative influence on my position. I simply trusted science and the medical experts led by Dr. Anthony Fauci and many minority physicians. Therefore, when afforded the opportunity to get the vaccine I did so without hesitation.
I wanted to briefly share my experience regarding the administration of the vaccine. I received a call from Dr. Ziggie Jones who asked if I were interested in taking the vaccine, and my immediate, instinctive response was yes. In all honesty and sincerity, I thought I heard COVID testing. Dr. Jones, unaware of my dilemma, proceeded to explain the necessary steps to take the vaccine: receiving via email, printing, and completing a medical authorization form and bringing it with me to site – Mt. Hermon- on Sunday. I was given an 11 -11:30 a.m. time slot. I had even included my wife who is battling and winning a fight against breast cancer thanks to God Almighty! When the Dr. Jones called to verify my attendance, obviously the subject of the vaccine came up and I was taken aback. After some clarification we determined that I would take the shot which would also provide added protection for my wife.
Arriving at the appropriate time, I found Seventh Terrace coned off to traffic and the parking lot completely full. After parking I went to the Family Life Center where I was greeted by a young man who instructed me to go across the street to the church where I would be given a number, have a seat and wait to be called. I immediately texted my wife and told her that this process may take longer than anticipated since I was supposed to pick her up at the Gazette.
The experience was even more unnerving when I heard number 56 called. I was almost in shock, you see, since I was holding ticket 82111 or 11. They always call the last 2 or 3 digits depending on whose calling.
Determine to see it through, I settled in, viewing our virtual Sunday church service on YouTube. After waiting approximately 30 minutes, my number was called and we were instructed to go to the FLC where in a matter of minutes and after verification of personal information, the vaccine was administered. Once I was given the vaccine, I was escorted to a sitting area and asked to remain there for 30 minutes so paramedics could monitor for any adverse or side effects. A slip of paper dated 1-31-21 indicated date of second shot, approximately three weeks or 21 days. The organizers and medical personnel were absolutely awesome and professional, administering vaccines to hundreds of citizens, mostly seniors. Other than minor soreness from needle penetration, I want to assure all that from my perspective and experience taking the vaccine was a no brainer, safe and expeditious. I’d like to thank my pastor Rev. Henry E. Green, Commissioner Dale Holness, the myriad medical personnel who administered the vaccine, and everyone (organizers/volunteers) involved in this heroic effort to insure the health and well-being of the citizens of Broward County.