Dr. Dewayne Gammel was one of 30 staff members affiliated with Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital to be inoculated with the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines received by the hospital. Those sent to Tyler Holmes are a part of a phased distribution of vaccines.
In a press conference at the beginning of December, Dr. Thomas Dobbs of the Mississippi Department of Health said the rollouts will be in phases. The first phase will include all vaccinating frontline healthcare workers, followed by second phase focused on all nursing home patients and staff. The third phase will include all teachers, school officials, and other essential workers. The final phase will be delivered to pharmacies and clinics to be made available to members of the public who wish to be vaccinated.
During the same press conference, Gov. Tate Reeves said the vaccines will be delivered in two parts. The first was expected in mid-December and the second one around the first of January. Because Dr. Gammel’s was vaccinated earlier this week, his next dose will be during the second week of January.
Gammel said being innoculated was no worse than any other shot that he’s taken and he’s experienced no side effects.
“My arm’s sore,” he said. “But, no side effects. There are always side effects with anything. It’s always a possibility and you have to weigh the pros and cons.”
Gammel said from the data that he’s seen that the vaccine has a good efficacy.
He said the hospital’s administration asked staff who wanted to take the vaccine to volunteer and he accepted the opportunity. He said he was unsure of who else volunteered, but for him it was a no-brainer. For Gammel, the pros and cons are simple.
Taking the vaccine and still wearing a mask, washing his hands and keeping a distance, means that not only is he helping to protect he and his family, but his neighbors as well, he said.
“It’s very important. Surgeons have been doing it for years and we’ve seen that it works with the many diseases that they come in contact with and do not contract. It’s an inconvenience but it works,” he said. “People are always wanting to help out. This is how they can help. Wash their hands, wear a mask, and stay six feet away.”
He said these actions help people maintain a degree of immunity. Gammel said the vaccine is “our generation’s polio vaccine.”
“People celebrated when the polio vaccine arrived and they should do the same now,” he said.
When asked about the conspiracy theories of the vaccine being a placebo or containing a microchip, Gammel said those claims have no credibility. The vaccine, he said, is real and effective, and it was accomplished by the fastest development process in history.
“I do not feel that I’ve been microchipped,” Gammel said. “I’ve seen the memes and seen the conspiracy theories online about it being government controlled. If the government wants to control us, we have cellphones.”
He said that he hopes that when more vaccine is made available in Montgomery and Carroll counties more people will buy into it and take it. He said herd immunity will only work if many people are vaccinated — and continue to wear their masks, as well.
“The vaccine is good, but it is not a cure,” he said, and urged people to continue washing their hands frequently, wearing a mask, and keep a safe distance from others.
“We all get through this together,” he said.