Unfortunately, whether someone got the virus or not, they are aware of COVID-19's existence. For the last two years, the world has been affected by the spread of the virus and, even now, the number of people infected is growing in some countries.
While I was working as a columnist for the Ziarul Teleormanul in Alexandria, Romania, I had an agenda of writing on this topic, when it was relevant, considering there have been some months when things got better. However, the discussions on whether to get vaccinated or not were everywhere. So, to answer some of the questions the newspaper's audience had, I went out there to the Polivante Hall, where the 'Second Dose Marathon' took place.
The article below is the English version (translated by me) of the Romanian article that I wrote on this topic. At the end of it, there is the original version as well.
The “Second Dose Marathon” is over - 1,876 people vaccinated
Over the three days, 1,876 people were vaccinated. According to the data provided by the representatives of the Prefect's Institution, out of the total mentioned, 147 people were vaccinated with the first dose of Pfizer BioNTech, and 195 people chose the vaccination with Johnson & Johnson.
Yesterday, the number of those who crossed the threshold of the Polivante Hall was lower until noon, compared to the previous days.
"We are somewhere around 400 people now. The figures are roughly similar to the first Marathon because some of the people who did the first dose are coming back here and also go to other centers and compensate those who came for the first dose to Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson. The figures are similar to the first Marathon. We also organized the ‘Second Dose Marathon’ because a lot of people came and then we overcrowded the Vaccination Center. I said - we're also organizing the ‘Second Dose Marathon’. Whoever else comes for the first dose, it's perfectly fine. For example, we did 35 Pfizer vaccinations on the first day, and on the second day there were 45", says Raluca Fedeles, vice-president of the Teleorman County Council.
There were also present Adrian Florescu, vice-president of the Teleorman County Council, and Ionela Ene, deputy mayor of Alexandria.
As for the opinions of the vaccinated people, the choice of the vaccine also has some connections with age. From the discussions with citizens, it appears that older people prefer the Pfizer BioNTech serum, while people up to the age of 25-30 choose Johnson & Johnson.
Gheorghe Ghinea, 69 years old, came yesterday for the second dose of the Pfizer serum:
"There is no reason why I got vaccinated. I just want to fight the virus as quickly as possible. At the first dose, I did not feel anything. I trust the specialists and all the studies done so far. So, I don't think there would be any side effects for which I am afraid". He also considers that the organization of the ‘Second Dose Marathon’ is very useful, "I came, I did it and I leave - very quickly".
On the other hand, Miruna B., 18 years old, came with her parents and chose the Johnson & Johnson serum for different reasons than Gheorghe Ghinea,
"I am afraid of the vaccination anyway, but I wanted to do the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because there is no need for coming for a second dose, and I want to be able to go outside. For example, to go to the club".
Regarding the organization at the Polivalente Hall, Miruna B. considers it "super and very fast".
Considering both the discussions with the citizens and the results of an opinion poll conducted in Alexandria a few days ago, many people are afraid of the side effects.
Regarding the cases with adverse reactions at the ‘Second Dose Marathon’, the representatives of the Teleorman County Ambulance Service claim that there was no such case. Also, Raluca Fedeleș discusses this topic:
"There have been no cases with adverse reactions, which are life-threatening. We had one or two cases with some mild symptoms when people have not eaten (before the vaccine), but in general, we had no problems."
Stelian Cristea, the executive director of DSP Teleorman, confirms the statements of the vice-president of the Teleorman County Council.
"Minor side effects can also be easily treated at home. We always had SMURD, an ambulance, six doctors. Also, in every shift, there is a doctor and intensive care nurses. Everything is ready for any situation".
Also, in connection with the adverse reactions, Cristina Catana and Mihai Victorita, volunteers at ‘Second Dose Marathon’, claim that they have not noticed any such case.
Raluca Fedeles offers explanations about the side effects,
"they fall into two categories: life-threatening side effects and minor ones. According to the studies, the reactions, which can be life-threatening, occur within the first 15 minutes after the vaccination at Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and 30 minutes at Moderna. For this reason, there is also the post-vaccination period. If you have passed the first quarter of an hour and have not had any side effects, the rest that may occur are minor: pain at the injection site, a mild state of fever. They can be solved with Paracetamol. Also, another marathon will not be organized. The number of those, who did the first dose today or the other day, is a reduced one, which can be borne by the vaccination centers or the Vaccination Center at School 6".
However, Stelian Cristea, the executive director of DSP Teleorman, claims that there is a possibility for another event of this kind under certain conditions.
"We are open to this idea. Because now the vaccination age has dropped to 12 years old, we are open to organizing another Marathon for the teenagers of Teleorman County. If we have requirements, we can organize ourselves even within a high school or even at the Polivalente Hall. But our intention - mine and Raluca's - is to organize another Marathon in the conditions in which we believe that we can bring even 1000 people in three days - a marathon for teenagers."
For people who have not been vaccinated during the Marathon, they can do so at the vaccination centers organized at the Teleorman county level, where all types of vaccine are available: Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, which is available at the family doctors enrolled in the vaccination campaign.