Albanian Part Of The Organizing Group Of Vaccine Doses In The USA

Lisana Subashi

Alma Doraci, born in the coastal city of Durres, has been living in Bloomington, Indiana, USA for 25 years with her husband and two sons, Soren and Aldridge Zajmi. Alma Doraci is part of the group that is responsible for organizing the distribution of the anti-covid vaccine and shows details that the distribution works. According to expert Doraci the benefits of this vaccine are much more important than some side effects that are normal like any other vaccine. As she remembers her beginnings in emigration, she tells “Albanian Diaspora” that many memories come to her mind.

“Talking about the beginnings of emigration brings to mind countless memories, years and it is difficult to answer briefly, but I will try.

One thing you have to understand is that in those years technology, computer, internet were still new concepts for Albanians and they were not available as they are now where it is enough to have wi-fi and it looks like you have the world in your hands. Why did I mention this? We had heard of America as a developed country, a land of dreams, of lights, etc., but we knew nothing concrete. Leaving Albania was not easy, we did not know what awaited us and how we would build our lives. But as it were, we were running towards a hope, towards a ray of light, towards a destination that God gives us.

The beginning was difficult, the first years were years of trial; English had to be learned, the traditions were unknown to us, the way of living and thinking were very different from what we had as Albanians. We missed family, friends and colleagues. We had to build everything from scratch trying to gear into new life in a foreign country. A few months after we arrived in Bloomington City, I started working as a technician in the hospital pharmacy. To be honest I was surprised by the work being done there. I was amazed at the indisputable role and influence of pharmacists in deciding medication, the countless consultations, the deep and scientific knowledge of pharmacists in America. This was the reason why after a few years I decided to study pharmacy and managed to graduate with high results as a “Doctor of Pharmacy”.

You are part of the group responsible for organizing the anti-Covid vaccine. Tell us some details on the procedure of administration and preparation of doses?

I am in the group that is responsible for organizing, getting the doses ready for administration, and administering the vaccine in the city where I live. It is a great work that we have long since started and it has intensified more recently. I am mentioning only one small aspect, we have at our disposal the Covid-19 Vaccine produced by the company Pfizer and soon we will have the one produced by Moderna. The difficulties are numerous, the instructions are very specific to provide the temperature needed to store the vaccine in optimal and efficient conditions. Take as an example the vaccine produced by Pfizer which should be kept in the freezer at a temperature between -60 and -80 degrees Celsius (this requires a special refrigerator) when taken out of the freezer is kept in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days and after being taken out refrigerator prepare the syringes to be used within 6 hours. This is just a small fraction of a colossal job, the distribution but I brought it up as an example to understand how in detail things have to be organized by the time it reaches the patient for vaccine administration. I am impressed by the dedicated work of all health workers to complete this vaccination campaign successfully. distribution but I brought it as an example to understand how in detail things have to be organized until it reaches the patient for vaccine administration. I am impressed by the dedicated work of all health workers to complete this vaccination campaign successfully. distribution but I brought it as an example to understand how in detail things have to be organized until the moment it reaches the patient for vaccine administration. I am impressed by the dedicated work of all health workers to complete this vaccination campaign successfully.

How is the vaccination process going?

So far it is going better than we expected. The first to be vaccinated are nurses, doctors, and hospital staff. The second phase will involve the elderly and so on. Not only hospital staff, but many people ask us and look forward to being vaccinated. We are working long hours to meet the demands and speed up the vaccination without violating the rules and protecting the population. There is an on-line application and questionnaire that everyone must complete before being vaccinated and sign that they agree to be vaccinated. Vaccination with the vaccine produced by Pfizer should be done on the first day and after 21 days whereas that produced by Moderna is done on the first day and after 28 days.

Are you sure the vaccine will stabilize the pandemic situation?

Yes, vaccinating the population will help reduce cases and control this pandemic. The latest statistics of December 20, 2020 show 76 million cases of Covid-19 where more than 1.6 million people lost their lives in this pandemic worldwide. Every day patients with Covid + are hospitalized. Many of them are in serious condition. We who work in the hospital see every day the lives of people who die, people who suffer, people who can not breathe, family members who do not have the opportunity to be near loved ones in the last hours of their lives. We must call this situation STOP!

How do you predict the situation after the holidays, can an increasing wave of infections be expected?

I fear this question is a rhetorical question. Covid-19 cases have always increased after the holidays at least I’m talking about here in the US. This was noticed after July 4, after Halloween day, after Thanksgiving day. Now with Christmas and New Year and we are trying to sensitize the population not to underestimate the situation aggravated by this pandemic. People should definitely understand that this year is much different from other years and many things need to be modified and done differently. One piece of advice I would like to give you; stay at home, celebrate only with your little family this year to celebrate next year among your loved ones.

What advice do you have for those people who are against the anti-covid vaccine?

I understand that many people are reluctant to get the vaccine. I think hesitation comes from several sources. Not informing is one of them. Some hesitate because they think the vaccine was produced too quickly and did not have time to be tested. It is true that it was produced in a fast time, but this comes because new and advanced methods of modern technology were used. Priority was given to studies conducted on the Covid-19 vaccine, and review of documents by the FDA moved to the top of the list.

Another reluctance in humans comes from the fear of the side effects of the vaccine. I would say that any medication or vaccine (whether new to the market or that has been in circulation for years) has side effects. According to the study conducted by Pfizer, the vaccine has been proven to be effective. The benefit we get from vaccination outweighs these side effects.

I would encourage all people to be vaccinated especially those who have the highest risk of infection such as health personnel, people with chronic diseases, etc ..

Your son is a volunteer part of the anti-covid hospital staff, right?

The Covid-19 pandemic was and continues to be a very serious scourge worldwide. Many people work long hours to serve the sick, there are nurses and health personnel who do not even go to their homes for days. There are people, and among them my son, who feel it is a human responsibility to help more than they can the medical staff or patients by risking themselves. My son is a pre-med student hoping to one day join the large army of doctors. He is very busy with his studies, but I am glad that he creates time for himself to go and help those who need him now more than ever. I am proud to have a human soul, a soul that should have characterized all doctors and why not all of humanity.

Are the children related to their hometown?

Of course they are. Conversations about Albania, its history, traditions, beautiful nature are never missing in our family. During school they have done several different projects where they talk about Albania and Albanian culture which have been very welcomed by other professors and students. Albanian cuisine is not missing during family holidays. Both of my children are eager to come to Albania whenever given the opportunity.

Do you often return to Albania?

Not as often as I would like. I try to come once every two or three years but I would come more often if I had the opportunity. My heart has stayed in that my beloved coastal city.