URMC clinician of color speaks out about getting the COVID vaccine

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — When it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Melissa Dundas wants to empower people.

Dr. Dundas is a Board Certified Pediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She received two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year and described her experience Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

“The COVID vaccine is incredibly safe,” Dr. Dundas said. “As a clinician, as a pediatrician, and as a member of color I have to make my decisions based on what this vaccine meant for me and how it can promote more safety for myself, my patients, and my family. With the first dose that I received, it was totally fine. I had a little bit of a sore arm. After my second dose, I did have that robust immune response where I had fevers, chills, and some body aches but within 48-hours of that I felt great and I was back to my baseline. So I just really want to encourage and empower our members of the community, in particular the community of color which has been really affected by the devastating virus, to get the vaccine.”

For those who ascribe to myths or conspiracy theories about the COVID vaccines – including those who believe receiving it will kill you – Dr. Dundas tried to help them embrace an alternate view. “So to individuals who have heard that information I definitely want to say that it is false. There is vaccine hesitancy and I want everybody to be aware that those fears are heard and they are understood. The clinicians and scientists who have worked around the clock on these vaccines actually started working on these models almost 20 years ago and they were readily available for us to be able to create the COVID vaccine. So, no, the vaccine itself does not cause death.”

Dr. Dundas is a sitting member of the Technical Advisory Committee with the Black Physicians Network of Greater Rochester. She offered two online resources for people to get credible, accurate information about the coronavirus and the vaccines. “We did partner with some local infectious disease experts to come up with a consensus and validated reputable information with regards to the COVID-19 virus and the vaccine so if you are able to visit our website — bpnroc.org/covid-19 — there is tons of information there that will address a lot of the frequently asked questions with regards to the vaccine. I also want to encourage individuals to visit the University of Rochester Medical Center website — urmc.rochester.edu/coronavirus.aspx — where there are continuous updates that are in alignment with the CDC guidelines, recommendations, and additional information surrounding the vaccines that we have available.”

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