Editor’s note: This story was produced in conjunction with the Latino Communities Reporting Lab. A free Spanish translation is available at Myrecordjournal.com/latino-news.
MERIDEN — Anabel Beltrán Román, executive director at Casa Boricua, recently discussed her experience getting the COVID-19 vaccine and its impact on her agency.
Question: How will the COVID-19 vaccine impact your work?
Answer: With me having the vaccine, I got it because, one, I feel that I can continue helping the Hispanic community. Because if I'm immunized I am at less risk of getting sick and having to stay home and not being able to help the community. I am doing it because I also have an elderly father.
Q: How were you able to schedule your appointment?
A: I scheduled my appointment through MyChart plus with Hartford HealthCare. The process was very easy. I went in and gave them my name, they already had my information because of MyChart. I got the shot, waited 15 minutes, and was able to get into work.
Q: What symptoms did you experience after getting your COVID-19 vaccine?
A: With the first vaccine, I just got a sore arm just like with my flu shot. I don't remember being sluggish. The second one, I was tired and I had chills. I had a slight fever for an hour and then it went away. In total, the sore arm was maybe two days. The second shot symptoms were about three days. I took Tylenol and Dayquil. I got symptoms the day after, but it wasn’t that long.
Q: Did you have any concerns leading up to your vaccine?
A: Until I read up on it, I was concerned because I had some food allergies. Then, I found out none of my food allergies had to do with the vaccine, I was not concerned at all.
Q: What advice would you give to those who are considering getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: I advise them, if they have concerns, speak with their primary care physician just to ease their worries. If they’re waiting to see what happens, the longer you wait the higher chance you have of getting coronavirus. But if you get the vaccine you lower your chances of getting coronavirus. You can protect yourself, your friends and your coworkers.
Q: At Casa Boricua, how are you planning to address any apprehension or doubts about the vaccine’s efficacy among the people you’re working with?
A: We are going to be providing information from the CDC and Health Department in Spanish if needed, so people can be informed correctly. It has to be the correct information.
Q: Did you provide any documentation for your COVID-19 appointment?
A: I provided my ID to the person, I don't think I even brought my insurance card.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to let others know?
A: Don't be afraid of the unknown, this is our way of putting our grain of salt in this big situation, I know it's scary, but this is our way to continue fighting the coronavirus.