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04.15.21 | Health & Wellness

Chicago Commons COVID-19 Live Q&A, Part 2

Sage Collective is thrilled to have recently partnered with Chicago Commons to bring a live, virtual Q&A event to their community of older adults. The purpose of the event was to address both facts and myths regarding the COVID-19 virus and vaccination. 

The live Q&A session, which was part of Chicago Commons’ Adult Day Service (ADS) Program, featured questions from the audience, answered by Rear Admiral (Ret.) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC, with Monique Caradine serving as moderator.

You can read Part 1 of the Event Roundup here. In Part 2, Dr. Galloway tackles skepticism about the vaccine head on. With respect to the history of medical inequity in Black and Brown communities, and the distrust it has sowed, Dr. Galloway explains the safety of the vaccine and why it remains a critical solution to the ongoing pandemic.


MC: What would you say to those that are nervous about how quickly this vaccine was able to be developed? Usually, vaccine development takes several years, and this occurred over the course of just one year.

JG: Both Moderna and Pfizer are mRNA protein vaccines, and we’ve been working with this type of vaccine structure for decades. We already had a foundation in place before the need for this vaccination, so those developing the vaccine were able to rapidly ramp up the studies and production in a safe way with that knowledge already in place. 


MC: Another question that came in from an attendee: what if I decide not to get vaccinated? Some people are considering this option based on what they’ve heard about the potential severity of side effects from the vaccination. Can you speak to that?

JG: Yes, I can. We’ve heard rumors about side effects of the vaccination. To be clear: the side effects of this vaccine are quite mild. You may experience soreness, swelling or redness in/on your arm where the vaccine was injected. Other mild side effects include headache, fever, muscle pain or nausea. But, it’s important to note that these side effects only last a few hours, if they even occur at all. 

And despite the hype, serious side effects are very rare. The number of people who do have severe side effects is infinitesimally small, and those effects have been treated when they occur. Meanwhile, if you decide not to get vaccinated because of these concerns, let’s compare the risk of severe side effects to the risk of a severe COVID-19 infection: COVID-19 is causing severe infections and hospitalizations, and in the US alone, one death every 28 seconds! 

The side effects of the vaccine are uncommon — and mild if they occur — compared to the severity of the impact of COVID-19 infection. Personally, I think that makes the value of the vaccine abundantly clear.


MC: There are many in the community that think, I’m young and I maintain a healthy lifestyle. Do I really need the vaccine?

DG: The lack of the vaccine, no matter how healthy you are, makes you much more susceptible to the virus. We’ve also seen that the virus can cause long term complications, even in young people, and we’ve seen the death toll. We also know that if you get it, you endanger all those around you — your family members, the folks who live in the home with you and any folks you come into contact with regularly. So there is, in both my mind and from the CDC’s perspective, no alternative that comes close to the protection of a vaccine.


MC: Another question from an audience member — a controversial one, which speaks to the distrust in the African American community around vaccines: How can I be sure that they are giving people in Black and Brown communities the actual COVID-19 vaccination? 

JG: It’s a reasonable question, and one that underscores the longstanding issues of trust bred by historically racist and dangerous health policies, and clinical experiments in vulnerable Black and Brown communities. That history, combined with the current political perspectives swirling around, and some of the more chaotic messaging from multiple social media platforms and media outlets about the vaccine — of course there is distrust. It’s clear there is not a lot of trust in the medical profession or in healthcare in general.

I’d like to give you my perspective of the development and distribution of this vaccine. First and foremost, the vaccine is produced in large quantities and these manufacturing plants are under close supervision and control, without knowledge of where in which communities the vaccine is going to be distributed. So large lots of the vaccine are developed, and the vaccine is placed in small bottles which are sealed and shipped in bulk to states and cities, and these bottles are only opened when ready for use at the local level.

I myself have worked at a vaccine delivery site. When shipments are received, there are multiple individuals in a group overseeing the administration of the vaccine — from the pharmacist who oversees the opening of the containers, the calculation and measuring the dosages, the filling of the syringes and the actual administration of the vaccine. Many, many parties are in the area for safety concerns and traffic concerns.

I say this all to reassure you that it would be difficult for anyone to infiltrate the system and preferentially administer an ineffective or incorrect vaccine to any particular community or persons. 

However, I will say, ensuring that the vaccine is distributed equitably between communities of color and white communities is a serious and real issue. With the data in place to backup these inequities, it is more important than ever for us to be outspoken and to work diligently with our local leaders in the arena of social justice and health equity in order to improve the fairness of distribution and ensure there is transparency around the process. 


MC: In closing, where can people turn to for credible information and facts about the vaccine?

JG: CDC.gov is my number one, go-to place. Many public health directors at the state and local level go to the CDC for guidance and redistribute that information on their own websites as well. Certainly, your doctor or healthcare professional is also a good resource. Those would be my top three: the CDC, local governments and medical professionals.


And if you’re eager for more Q&A sessions on COVID-19 fact and fiction, Sage Collective is planning another event with Dr. Galloway, this time in conversation with Joseph West, PhD. Click here for more details and to RSVP. 

Text on graphic reads: Talking COVID-19. Dr. James M. Galloway talks COVID-19 Facts & Fiction Part 2. Graphic includes the Sage Collective logo, the Chicago Commons logo, and a headshot of James Galloway
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04.13.21 | Health & Wellness

COVID-19 Vaccine Testimonial: James M. Galloway

As part of our ongoing campaign to encourage and ramp up vaccination in Black communities across America, Sage Collective is creating testimonials that showcase why people have chosen to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and what the experience was like. To start, we’re engaging our own Board of Directors and Leadership Team to share their stories. 

After sharing the experience of Sage Collective’s own Donna Gaines and Dwain Kyles, this week we interviewed Rear Admiral (Ret.) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC, a United States medical doctor and Public Health physician, and member of the Sage Collective Leadership Team.


Why did you personally take the COVID-19 vaccine? Did you have any reservations or questions? Do you feel you had all the information you needed to take the decision to be vaccinated? What /who were your sources of information and guidance?   

As a physician and a public health professional, as well as a pandemic preparation lead under President Obama, I felt comfortable with vaccine safety in general but, of course, I had to do my diligent research into these COVID vaccines and the science behind them before being satisfied that they were safe and effective. I researched and reviewed the studies themselves as well as looked to the CDC and FDA for their evaluations and data. After these reviews, I felt very comfortable with receiving the vaccine. 


When did you receive your COVID-19 vaccine and from what company (Moderna, Pfizer, etc.)? What was the experience of signing up/scheduling? Have you received both shots? Where did you have to go to get your vaccinations? What was the experience like of getting into the chair and actually receiving the shot? (If you’ve received both shots, you can break this down by each experience).

As a vaccination center volunteer, I received my first Moderna vaccine in late February and the second in early March. At our vaccination center, in Arizona, sign up was on a website and obtaining the vaccine shot was simple and straightforward, with no untoward effects.


How did you feel after receiving the vaccine, physically or otherwise? Did you experience any side effects?  

I had no side effects from either shot. My wife, a nurse who worked at the center as well, had some mild fatigue that evening and went to bed early – and felt fine the next day.


What is your doctor saying about how COVID-19 vaccination fits into your long term health plan? Are you taking any aftercare measures — if so, what?  

The risk of COVID for me was much greater than the risk of the vaccine and provides me with a sense of relief I have not felt in a year. It remains critically important, even after vaccination, to wear a mask and maintain social distancing in public and around those who have not been vaccinated as well as continuing to avoid large gatherings. However, within our household and among our close relatives, all have been vaccinated now – and you cannot believe the wonder of hugging my 5 year old granddaughter again after a year! 


Are you serving as a guide to others who are seeking information and reassurance about being vaccinated?  

Absolutely. I have spoken with a great number of people who were hesitant about getting the vaccine due to concerns about its safety. After I had the chance to share with them the results of my research and study, many of these individuals proceeded to get their vaccinations. 


Overall, what do you believe makes COVID-19 vaccination so important to society writ large, and in your specific community?  

It is imperative that we protect our families and community members by getting OUR vaccine! It is also important for us as a nation and a community to get back towards normal, to open our schools, our businesses, our communities and our homes. 

Text overlay reads: "The risk of COVID for me was much greater than the risk of the vaccine and provides me with a sense of relief I have not felt in a year."
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04.08.21 | Health & Wellness

Join a Roundtable Discussion About COVID-19 Vaccination

With Biden recently announcing all adult Americans will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19th, many are preparing their arms for the shot. But access aside — what if you still don’t want the vaccine or are questioning whether to receive your dose? 

We’re here to listen to your concerns. Tell us how you feel about these issues at our live, virtual roundtable discussion:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. CST

During the roundtable, we invite our community members to discuss their decision to receive (or not receive) the COVID-19 vaccine. What makes you hesitant to receive the shot? What are the questions you want answered? Whether you have questions, or you know someone who could benefit from this discussion, all are welcome! 

We’ll be joined by our Leadership Team members Rear Admiral (Ret.) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC and Dr. Joseph West, experts in the fields of medicine and epidemiology, who will share their sage advice. 

Interested in attending? Please RSVP here


This live roundtable discussion is part of Sage Collective’s robust campaign to begin conversations about COVID-19 vaccination within our community, paying particular attention to older African Americans. 

As we seek to increase awareness of how the COVID-19 vaccine works and why it is important, we recognize that historic and systemic medical inequities in Black communities have bred justifiable mistrust. That’s why we must have meaningful conversations about our communities’ viewpoints on, and relationship to, the COVID-19 vaccination — so that we may find a solution that promotes health, safety and comfort for everyone moving forward.

Image text reads: I can get the COVID-19 vaccine, but I don't want it. Now what? Join us for a live virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday April 20, 2021, 1:00 PM CST. Image includes a photo of a vaccine vial and the Sage Collective logo
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