Indian-American seniors say yes to Covid-19 vaccine


Several seniors of Indian origin have received the Covid-19 vaccine, some as part of clinical trials and some as part of the drive that has been rolled out in California last week to inoculate the elderly.

Many others are eagerly waiting for their turn.

Satish Shah

Elk Grove-based Satish Shah, 71, told indica News that he and his wife, Lilam Shah, 67, (in photograph on top) participated in the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine trial.

He learned last week that he received the vaccine but his wife received a placebo.

Shah said they participated in the trial in August 2020.

So on Saturday, January 16, my wife received the vaccine shot, and got a sore hand a day later. That’s it; no other symptoms,” Shah said.

When he received the second shot, Shah said he got a 102-degree fever, body ache and headache. The doctor recommended Tylenol.

He said that the 40-50 page consent form very clearly described the potential side effects. So, it was not unexpected.

He said he had been reading up on vaccines ever since the pandemic began.

We are educated and we know this type of pandemic can only be resolved through a vaccine,” said Shah.

When he found Moderna was working on a vaccine, he wrote to the company asking how they can participate.

The company responded, telling them that the phase 3 trial would start at the end of July in California. They were told that there would be a center near them where they could apply and qualify.

The couple went to Benchmark Research Lab in Sacramento.

We went to through the qualification stage and were qualified and had our shots in August but they did not say whether I received the vaccine or placebo,” said Shah.

He has become an advocate of the vaccine, educating people, specially seniors, to get inoculated.

We are on a kind of mission educating everyone about the vaccine and saying it is important. And spreading the information making sure everyone gets vaccinated and whatever information we can share with seniors,” said Shah.

He said they have hosted webinars for seniors in different languages creating awareness about the vaccine.

We feel amazing because we feel that our small contribution is helping the society and community and the world,” said Shah.

He said he felt proud to be among the 30,000 volunteers for the vaccine trial in a country with 325 million people.

Another Indian-Americn senior, Devyani Dave, who lives in Priya Living, an Indian American seniors’ facility in Santa Clara, told indica News that she has a heart problem but feels good to get the Covid vaccine.

I am feeling good today and not worried,” said Dave, who misses going out and meet her friends and family.

We don’t go out. My son comes and takes us but that’s not possible during Covid,” she said. “I am eagerly waiting for Covid to go away.”

Mahesh Nihalani, 70, community director at Priya Living, said he was waiting for his turn to be inoculated.

We have been eagerly waiting and the governor has opened [vaccines for] 65 and above and my date is on January 25,” said Nihalani.

He said Dave was the first among the 33 seniors living at Priya Living to receive the shots.

However, during a press briefing on January 19, Fresno County interim health officer Dr Rais Vohra clearly indicated they are going to run out of vaccines if the allocation doesn’t increase.

He said he himself might have to wait for his next dose.

Another challenge the state of California has faced is the reactions from the Moderna vaccine.

California state epidemiologist Dr Erica S Pan. issued a statement Sunday, Jan 17, on pausing one of the lots of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine due to possible allergic reactions.

According to the press release, Health officials say those who received the single lot 41L20A of the Moderna Covid-19 appeared to experience a possible severe allergic reaction.

More than 330,000 doses from this lot have been distributed to 287 providers across the state. The matter is under investigation.

However, CDPH on Wednesday, Jan. 20  lifted a hold on a batch of 330,000 Moderna doses, after the state told providers to pause administering those shots after receiving fewer than 10 reports of possible allergic reactions. State epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan in a statement said local, state and federal health officials, as well as Moderna, investigated “and found no scientific basis to continue the pause,” and counties and health systems may immediately resume giving the shots.

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