Caribbean Frontline Doctors Appeal to Community to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Trinidadian Dr. Yolande Thomas-Badal, receiving vaccine.

NEW YORK, New York – Two Caribbean born medical practitioners are urging members of the Caribbean community in New York to get vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic Dr. Clifford Young of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidadian Dr. Yolande Thomas-Badal, said it is important that Caribbean and other nationals protect themselves from the raging pandemic.

“This vaccine is the most powerful tool we have against fighting this virus,” said Dr. Young, an attending physician at Cumberland Diagnostic and Treatment Center who, in December last year, contracted the COVID-19 virus.

“COVID-19 is rapidly mutating, but the vaccine has still shown to be our best defense against the virus,” said Dr. Young, an assistant professor at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine in Brooklyn.

He told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the vaccine still prevents the spread of the virus and reduces the number and severity of the complications.

“Without taking the vaccine, we cannot work towards a common goal, protecting ourselves and each other from severe illness and death. Many feel that the state has been trampling our freedoms with vaccine mandates, but we simply cannot risk anymore loss of life when we have the vaccine.

“We must protect ourselves, so we avoid anyone else experiencing my story, or worse, again,” warned Dr. Young, stating that, as a primary care physician, he knew that he was at great risk of contracting the virus in December last year.

He said his Jamaican-born wife, a registered nurse, and himself “worked side by side throughout the pandemic” and even though they had taken “every pre-caution…they still contracted the virus not from a patient but from a family member.

“Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for every person stricken with COVID-19. Every one of us has a story like this or knows someone who does,” he said, adding that this virus was “particularly ruthless within our community”.

Dr. Thomas-Badal, an Emergency Room physician at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, told the CMC that the COVID-19 virus has caused a lot of deaths worldwide.

She said that prior to the availability of the vaccine in December 2020, the number of cases of COVID-19 infection increased tremendously with many people having lost families, friends and co-workers.

But, Dr. Thomas-Badal said, despite the availability of the vaccine, many people still refuse to take the vaccine, “due to fears or misinformation.

“I encourage people to take the vaccine, because vaccines save lives, and it is our best defense against contracting the COVID-19 infection,” she said, noting that most of the infected COVID-19 patients were seniors with multiple underlying medical conditions, who, most likely, contracted the virus from other family members.

“Interestingly, most of the COVID-19 infected patients who come to the emergency room are unvaccinated young adults, who are hesitant to take the vaccine, due to their fears and or misinformation,” Dr. Thomas-Badal said.

“The COVID-19 vaccine saves lives, it is free, and it is readily available to everyone,” she stressed. “I once again encourage everyone to take the vaccine, because it is much better to be vaccinated than to face hospitalization and possible death.

“In the Caribbean and elsewhere, the cost of hospital care is far greater than the cost of the vaccine. Everyone should take advantage of this opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Thomas-Badal added.