When Dr. Eddie Donahoe heard that a COVID-19 vaccine was on the way and had the potential to be available to health care professionals before the end of 2020, he didn’t hesitate to raise his hand to be one of the first to take it.
Donahoe, like over 2,000 other folks in Sunflower County, has already suffered through the effects of the novel coronavirus this year, and he doesn’t want to contract it again.
And he wants to show his patients that he has no qualms about taking the vaccine.
With two vaccines deployed in the United States this month, Donahoe was one of the first to take the shot at Indianola Family Medical Clinic on Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re glad to see it,” Donahoe said as the first dose of the Moderna vaccine entered his shoulder area. “This is what we’ve been waiting for for a long time. Having had the virus, I wanted to be one of the first ones to get it and also to show my patients that I am not afraid of this virus. I think the only way we’re going to beat this disease is through vaccination.”
The Moderna vaccine comes in two doses, South Sunflower County Hospital Infectious Disease Nurse Henley Harrell said.
Donahoe and all the others taking the vaccine this week will have to be vaccinated again within the next month.
Harrell said about 100 shots had been allocated to the clinic by the Mississippi State Department of Health, which reported another 2,600 COVID cases on Wednesday.
Right now, both vaccines are being deployed to frontline workers, mostly in hospital settings, Harrell said.
It will be a while before the general public will be vaccinated, according to the MSDH contingency plan, which calls for health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents and education workers to be inoculated in the first phases.
It may be mid-2021 before the general public is thoroughly vaccinated, but when that time comes, Donahoe wants his patients to be fully confident in the effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as its safety.
“We’ll certainly take any risk out there,” Donahoe said. “Apparently, the risk is no more than our standard flu shot. I may be a little achy have a low-grade temp, but I’ll take that over having COVID again, because that was not any fun, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”
Donahoe, like the other six physicians Indianola Family Medical Group and SSCH, has seen the horrors brought about by the virus first-hand.
It’s also affected different patients in a variety of ways, with some seeing few to no symptoms.
“But we’re seeing that there’s no pattern as to who gets it severe,” he said. “We can’t predict who’s going to be sick with it.”
That’s why Donahoe and Harrell encourage everyone as Christmas approaches to be smart and extra careful.
“If you’ve got to be together, wear a mask,” Donahoe said. “You really should, because you don’t know who has been exposed and when.”