In an atmosphere of optimism and trust, dozens of Ashford Hospital employees were receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this morning, with no case of adverse reaction to the vaccine being reported so far.
In fact, as they have been able to confirm, the vaccinated already report the presence of antibodies in their system, which would be giving them the protection sought with the vaccine.
The infectologist Miguel Colón commented that over 80% of the employees, doctors and nurses have been vaccinated and have not registered “almost no side effects.”
“And the important thing is that 100% of the people who got the antibodies, the rapid test we call, in two weeks have developed antibodies. That means this vaccine (from Pfizer) is extremely effective. For us at Ashford Hospital it is 100%, not 95% like the general population. So it has truly been an excellent experience ”, assured the doctor.
“I hope we are in phase B, and phase C and phase 2 very soon. Because I believe that everyone has to get vaccinated. Here there are no excuses, here there are no allergies, here people should not be afraid of getting vaccinated. They must be more afraid of acquiring COVID, ”insisted Dr. Colón.
The infectologist reiterated that the vaccine is “extremely safe and effective”, with only 5% of those vaccinated developing the infection, but in a mild way.
“So protect 100%. They can’t say, look at that 5% got very sick from that they died. No, none died. And to everyone who got the infection, they got extremely weak, almost asymptomatic. It is an extremely safe, extremely effective vaccine, both from Pfizer and from the modern one. This is excellent, ”said the doctor, with visible enthusiasm, adding that, at least here in Puerto Rico, a similar response has been seen in other hospitals.
The response of other vaccinated was similar. Dr. Manuel Velilla, an obstetrician gynecologist who is the oldest still working at the institution, commented that he felt “very well, the same, as if I had not been vaccinated, but safer.”
“I think this is the solution in part to all the problems. I was just tired, and one day nothing more. But nothing else, I don’t have six fingers or anything. Everything has been perfect, “said the doctor.
Respiratory therapist Yahaira Alicea, who was the first person to receive the vaccine on the island, also said she felt good after receiving the first dose, and urged the entire population to get vaccinated.
“I have not had, thank God, any reaction. Everything has been normal, no fever, no headache, no dizziness, nothing. I feel good, very positive. I already feel like I have protection. I feel safe, calm, and forward with the patients, “said the young therapist.
She added that she was happy that her colleagues and other multidisciplinary staff were also getting vaccinated, at Ashford and other hospitals. “We are setting an example so that the country and the people can be vaccinated and not be afraid. I urge the entire population to get vaccinated ”.
Domingo Cruz, executive director of the hospital, expressed after receiving his second dose that they were “super excited”, and that there has been a great acceptance from the hospital staff.
“Our goal was to have 70% of the total staff vaccinated, which is what is considered herd immunity. As of today we are close to 75%. So we keep vaccinating. As of yesterday we already had 1,500 people vaccinated. So we are very excited. We want to continue the process and once we finish with our staff, the second dose of the vaccine, we are working and organizing ourselves to begin what will eventually be the vaccination of the group of 65 years or more. So if God wants by the end of January or the beginning of February, we must be ready, when the government gives the order, to start serving the community, “said the manager.
He explained that this next phase would be carried out with reservations through an intelligent information system, developed at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez, which allows the patient to separate, through their phone or computer, their space to receive the vaccine . Reservations would be block-by-hour, allowing the Ashford to serve about 300 people per day. Once they receive the first dose, the system schedules the appointment for the second dose and even sends you a notification to remind you of that appointment for the second dose. The system will also allow the hospital to receive some 30,000 calls a month, according to Cruz.