Monday, March 22, 2021


By: Leopoldo Gratzi, Ed.D

NYCRA-NEWS launched the "GET THE SHOT" campaign, kicked off with by Dr. Richard Schulder (R) and the many front line health responders who posted their vaccination selfies on Linkedin.  Contrary to the very program I designed to bring prevention and safety to the public, I write this segment confessing my (then) conflicted thoughts about the vaccine.  The barrage of pros and cons from the media who all drove their hardline versions of "convincing truths" constantly fed trepidation and confusion in me.  As a publisher of health news, I wrestled daily with my social responsibility vs. my fears fueled by the daily data overload.

Adding to my struggling lack of faith was the challenge of getting the vaccine for my elderly family members (back in January of this year). Long waits, broken websites and insane lines for appointments turned into dis-appointments with zero inventory certainly took all the desire out of getting vaccinated.

I became a medical publisher to offer Scientists, Doctors and Researchers an educational platform to impart their experience-based wisdom to the general public. After conducting enough interviews with medical professionals explaining in clear English WHY they trust the vaccine, I found great peace and personal value in their logic.  Their sensible guidance broke through my fears and questioning mind, such that this compelled me to share their viewpoints to others. But more than my public service, I also realized that I was gathering their views to quell my OWN resistance from getting the shot.

Front liners and essential workers are at the top of the list for the simple reason that their work does not lend itself the option to self-isolate.  If there was a group of people who understood infection, contamination and prevention, physicians make it their business to do their 'homework' on the vaccine- enough to personally support hoping to educate the skeptics, the nay-sayers and the fear-mongers.

I found the source of our divided community to stem from confusion  overwhelming flood of digital information vs. the the emotional and psychological tolls (from the pandemic) on the public. "I got the shot to get back to work, but I can empathize those who resist it -- it takes strength and a lot of  energy to TRUST anything (ie. the government) after a year of mask-wearing, half a million deaths and a life upside down!" - says Elizabeth Cristi, home health aide.

Speaking out to all public concerns, Dr. Stephen Chagares shared his own personal findings (through the use of 1st grade math) to verify why the vaccine is SAFE and NOT RUSHED- for himself, his family and for the community.  A talented educator to his patients, Dr. Chagares drives compelling statements with the help of reputable references to support herd immunity as a sound strategy for reversing the pandemic. "The very first recipients of the vaccine were healthcare personnel... the same people who treat and restore the ill. 

March 2021. US news reports 447 million doses have been administered at an estimated pace of 11 million doses a day- covering 1/4 of the US population. At least four companies are successfully manufacturing and distributing a tested and proven vaccine with more underway in the next few weeks. Appointments in vaccination sites are (now) happening on a next-day basis with no issues or delays.  Truly a different environment from January.

Sunday, 3/21 - Quietly sitting in the mandatory post-vaccination 15 minute waiting room, I reflected on how quickly and efficiently I got my shot (@ a CVS in Auburndale in Queens, NY).  With a strange calm, I first texted Dr. Chagares with a big smile underneath my double mask "I'm here because of your interview on the vaccine!" attaching my selfie (R), just like the ones my docs posted on social media. 

In closing, I see the vaccine resistance is a direct stand on our personal independence.  This is reflective on our cynicism and our unrelenting ability to question authority. But as a people, we also hold the ability to band together, self-motivate and shape our beliefs for the greater good- especially in times of crisis. Dr. Chagares and the many health responders who speak out or post their selfies getting the shot are clearly endorsing the return of our way of life and a healthy community.  If the pandemic challenge is earning public trust, "Straight Talk from the Docs" got one more subscriber to join the movement of social responsibility. 

This is US.

My Vaccination Debate - by: Anthony J. Carfang

I marvel at the wonders of modern medical science and its gifts to mankind.  However, I am even more amazed at the miraculous recuperative powers of the human body.  So much so that I absolutely hate to have anything foreign enter my system.  I avoid pills and supplements.  Until this year, I had never taken the flu shot! My logic about the flu shot was simple: 1) follow all the health protocols and sanitary precautions, 2) avoid people with flu symptoms.  I further reasoned that I would have time to seek care if I did catch the flu.  It worked for decades. Those assumptions don't work for Covid.  Asymptomatic spread makes it impossible to avoid the virus, even by diligently following the protocols.  Further, I've seen friends and relatives progress from mild symptoms to hospitalization in a matter of hours.  That made a vaccine believer out of me.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Anthony Carfang is a board member of, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting those who have been touched by breast cancer. Whether you are caring for someone who has been diagnosed, know someone who has breast cancer, have been diagnosed yourself or carry one of the gene mutations, we understand that a breast cancer diagnosis can be life changing and overwhelming. Out of the need to navigate the uncertainty and the strong desire for connection, support, and resources, was born.


1) “Operation Warp Speed selects billionaire scientist’s COVID-19 vaccine for monkey tests”

2) How were researchers able to develop COVID-19 vaccines so quickly?

3) “How did we develop a COVID-19 vaccine so quickly?”

4) “Fact check: The vaccine for COVID-19 has been nearly 20 years in the making”

5) “A Timeline of COVID-19 Vaccine Development”

6) National Geographic: “COVID-19 requires the world to consider 'unconventional approaches'”