COVID Task Force Chairman receives COVID-19 vaccine, encourages people to do their own research

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Posted at 3:08 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 21:28:43-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Coronavirus Task Force Chairman Dr. Alex Jahangir was vaccinated Friday. He told news reporters he has a lot of confidence in the coronavirus vaccine, saying the Pfizer vaccine is the first step in putting this virus behind us as a community.

Dr. Jahangir was given the shot at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as well as a vaccination card, which showed when he’s expected to get the required second shot in 21 days.

The full-time trauma surgeon has been leading the fight against coronavirus in Davidson County since the beginning of the outbreak. He said he didn't expect to see a vaccine in 2020, much less get vaccinated. So knowing he would receive the vaccine in the morning gave him some much-needed rest. He said last night was the best night of sleep he has had all year.

“What it gives me is hope," Dr. Jahangir explained.

Health care workers may be the first to get the vaccine, but Dr. Jahangir says between now and the next three to six months the public will likely have access as well.

“In those three to six months what is vital is for everyone to wear masks, keep our distance, and keep strong," he said. "If we keep strong we can minimize the number of people getting sick, minimize the number of deaths, so on the other side of this, we have all the things and all the people we love in our life with us.”

If we can continue with those efforts and the vaccine makes it to public distribution, Dr. Jahangir says we could put COVID-19 behind us by summer 2021.

For now, he says first responders need to be our priority as many health care workers have been infected and not from their work in the hospital. They get sick elsewhere and if they can’t make it to work, that means less staff available and ultimately fewer beds when we need them the most.

Once given emergency approval, the Metro Health Department is expecting to get the Moderna vaccine next week. They will then begin distributing the vaccine to all first responders including police, firefighters, and others.

When asked about the governor’s reluctance to implement a statewide mask mandate, Dr. Jahangir said there’s no question masks are effective. However, he wouldn’t comment on the governor's decision. Instead, he thanked the governor for making it possible for health departments to implement these policies if they choose to.

For those concerned about the vaccine, Dr. Jahangir says he understands the concern but encouraged everyone to trust the science. He also encouraged people to do their own independent research from reputable sources just like he did.