A health care worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the US last year. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE US Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine gave more confidence to those who received the vaccine at the Kendal G L Isaacs National Gymnasium yesterday.
Pfizer is now the first COVID-19 vaccine to be FDA approved and will now be marketed as “Comirnaty for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older,” according to the FDA.
When The Tribune visited the gym, many people expressed hesitancy about getting the jab but were motivated to do so for various reasons such as protecting loved ones and themselves from the virus or having seen how the virus affected others. Yet, the news of the approval did give them more confidence in the vaccine.
“I had made my decision prior to the FDA approval, but having read that the FDA had approved this vaccine, yes it was a little more comforting knowing that you know that it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration,” said Michelle Knowles. She went to the gym with her mother and sister to take her first dose. Ms Knowles recounted her hesitancy at first, but noted a personal experience that highlighted the reality of the virus.
“Well, early in the year when there were so many unknowns even with the virus itself hearing so many different versions of it,” she said. “My husband had COVID earlier in the year. It came [front and] centre for me in my home so at that point you realise it’s not propaganda. COVID is real and people do get sick and they do die.”
Monique Mckenzie was hesitant in getting the vaccine but decided she needed to take it after doing research and the nature of her job as a social worker.
She also knows of at least three people who died as a result of getting COVID.
Ms McKenzie remembered: “For me, it was very heart-wrenching for the last [person] who just died two nights ago… on the Family Island, wasn’t able to come to Nassau because there were no beds or anything. So definitely that also helped me to realise that I was doing the right thing by getting the vaccination today.”
The stamp of approval from the FDA was good news to her. “Yes that was good to hear because you know even though I had made up my mind to get it I was a bit hesitant but after hearing that it has been FDA approved, yes I feel so much better now,” she added.
For Michael Lewis, the Pfizer FDA approval made him feel a bit “more confident”.
“I mean I already had my date booked before they approved it yesterday so it made me feel a bit more confident.”