Essential Workers #GetVaccinated

This series shares DC 37 members’ personal stories and their reasons for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

In the fight to end a global pandemic, DC 37 is proud of the work, sacrifice, and dedication of its members in these unprecedented and challenging times.

Ricardo Reed

Clerical Associate 3, Bellevue Hospital 

Local 1549 

“We each have a part to play in our health, so I took the COVID vaccine. Not enough people of color are getting the vaccine. We need to understand what questions to ask doctors to learn who is treating us. I interview my doctors to understand what they know about African physiology, their passion, and whether they care about my body and my health.

I showed symptoms of COVID last year. I was coughing up blood and sweating excessively. My doctor told me to call 911. I asked the EMTs to please take me to Bellevue Hospital. They asked why, and I told them I work there and I trust my co-workers.

While hospitalized, I did not want to develop pneumonia so I slept sitting up. I had terrible nightmares. I advocated for myself with help from Labor Chair Rose Rogers. I fought to survive COVID-19. I have a strong will to live.

I have some long-term side effects from having COVID. It affected my breathing, my sense of smell, and my food just doesn’t taste the same. It also affected my memory, but I am getting better every day.

I work in the Finance Department as a Clerical Associate 3. You might say I wear many hats. I serve on the Ebola Think Tank, the labor-management committee, the community advisory board, and the FEMA response team at Bellevue. I share information with the community and urge people to be proactive. We cannot continue to be seen and not heard.

I am also a Chief Shop Steward for Local 1549. At hospital orientations, I introduce new employees to our union and everything it offers. I say ‘advocate for yourself, learn to protect yourself.’

I wish COVID on no one. Now that a vaccine is available, I say it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

As told to DIANE S. WILLIAMS

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