Three Filipino Frontliners Among First to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccine COVID-19

Three Filipino Frontliners Among First to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

Riza Raquion, Richie Gil, and Leo Quijano are among the first Filipino frontliners who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination. 

The United States of America and the United Kingdom have recently rolled out the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use to address their spiraling cases. Several Filipino frontliners took part in receiving the first dosage of the vaccine. 

Riza Raquion, a 53-year old registered nurse in Chicago, stated that “It’s my duty as a health care provider to be a good example to protect my patient, my family, and my community.” 

After volunteering, Raquion was administered the vaccine on Friday, December 18 at the Amita Health Resurrection Center in Chicago, Illinois. Upon hearing the news that the hospital was going to begin rolling out vaccines, she expressed how she had to prepare herself mentally before deciding to volunteer. 

She expressed, “When you work at the hospital bedside as a nurse, you will see the struggle. You will see how [COVID patients] cope to get better. It’s very hard and I’ve seen them. It breaks my heart to take care of these patients and I don’t want them to die in front of me again. I’ve witnessed it and it’s so depressing. You’ll cry when you see them intubated [and] when you see them transferred to the ICU.”

Richie Gil, a critical care nurse at the University of Chicago Medicine, was prioritized to receive one of the first shots for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Currently, Gil is assigned to the hospital’s Perioperative Services and Post Anesthesia Units, which is considered as one of the COVID-19 battlefronts for medical frontliners. 

He stated, “I have long been waiting for this moment to come after enduring 10 months of risking our lives being exposed to COVID-19 patients. The daily uncertainty made me and my wife, who is also a nurse, accept the fact that it is just a matter of time before we get infected.”

Leo Quijano, a Filipino nurse working in one of the major hospitals in Brighton, England, had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after contracting it from one of her patients during work. 

On June 1, Quijano’s COVID results showed that she was positive for the virus and was hastily placed in the hospital’s Red Zone, an isolation area for COVID-19 patients. Luckily, Quijano recovered after two months of isolation. 

After the UK government announced the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination, Quijano was among the first who availed of the vaccination. 

Quijano stated, “Being a victim of COVID-19 myself, I did not hesitate. I am positive about the vaccine which has shown 95% efficacy in the study and that is really good.”

The frontliners experienced little to no side-effects days after receiving the vaccine. At most, they only suffered a sore arm from where the vaccine was administered but later recovered after a day of well-deserved rest. 

This type of vaccine is made from a special RNA vaccine where one needs to have two injections. The second injection must be administered after three to four weeks from the first shot. The vaccine also guarantees 95% effectiveness. 

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