HAMPTON, Va. (April 13, 2021) - Hampton University School of Pharmacy Alumnus, Dr. Samir Balile interviewed Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, to promote the Biden Administration’s Coronavirus vaccine pharmacy program and to address vaccine hesitancy.
“Dr. Smair Baile’s work to educate and raise awareness about the COVID-19 vaccine is a shining example of what Hampton University does every day: prepare the best and the brightest to lead and serve our great nation and the world at large. I applaud the Hampton University School of Pharmacy faculty and staff for launching Baile’s career and continuing to develop the hearts and minds of the next generation of pharmacists,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Balile interviewed Harris at a Giant Food grocery store to help raise awareness about the coronavirus vaccine in communities of color, to calm vaccine hesitancy, to assure individuals that the vaccines are safe, and to ensure that enough of the public receives them.
“The world has taken steps to create and administer coronavirus vaccinations,” said Harris. “I believe it is very important for people to receive this vaccination. I received mine several months ago and I hope leaders will continue to receive their shots and eliminate vaccination hesitancy.”
During the interview, Harris spoke about the side effects she experienced after receiving the second dose of her Moderna vaccine and reassured another woman as she received her own dose.
“The first day that I got the shot, I felt fine. The next day, I realized, I needed to take it a little slow. The next day it was like nothing ever happened, but I knew I was vaccinated,” the Vice President Harris told the woman who was there to receive the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Harris added that she experienced no side effects with the first shot.
Harris spoke with Balile about how frontline workers are administering the vaccine, the challenges they face, and what kinds of questions the citizens are asking. They also discussed the issue of vaccine hesitancy versus access.
Balile said his team does not have enough vaccine to deliver to the people who want them, but suggested that when DC moves into the phase of vaccinating the general public, it will become important to educate Americans. He also said some people in the community had concerns about the side effects of the vaccine.
Those who get the vaccine may experience side effects, which are normal signs that their body is building protection, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm at the site of the injection. Fever, chills, tiredness, and headache are also possible side effects, but they should go away in a few days, the CDC says.
Harris also sought to highlight the administration’s program for increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines by sending doses to select pharmacies across the country. The administration says that roughly 7,000 retail pharmacies are participating nationwide and that 2 million doses were shipped to them last week as part of the program. The White House listed 21 national pharmacy chains that would participate in the initial phase of the program, including Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid.
Dr. Samir Balile is an experienced Clinical Pharmacy Specialist with a demonstrated history of success in the retail industry. He is currently the Clinical Pharmacy Program Manager at Giant Food in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Hampton University in 2013.