Phenix City doctor encouraging vaccinations after losing 3 family members to COVID-19

Updated: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:40 PM EST
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PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - An East Alabama doctor is feeling a personal loss because of COVID-19, after losing multiple family members to the virus.

Now, she’s channeling that loss and her background in medicine to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

Dr. Ritu Chandra, the founder of Preferred Medical Group, said she lost her aunt to COVID-10 a few months ago.

“[She] was almost like a mother to me,” Chandra said. “[She was] otherwise healthy, but she succumbed to COVID.”

Shortly after, Chandra lost two cousins to the virus.

“That really hit home very hard,” she said.

Chandra said these losses, plus her knowledge of science and medicine and her belief in the power of vaccines, fuel her to help her community fight the virus.

“It feels like COVID did this to my family, so I’m going to hit COVID hard,” Chandra said. “I’m going to punch back.”

Chandra has been a passionate advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine since day one. She has received both of her doses of the vaccine and is encouraging everyone to do their part and get vaccinated.

“If you think about the different strategies of how we’re going to get out of this, vaccinations and herd immunity are the only way we’re going to get out of it,” she said. “It’s not something slow burning that’s going to go away.”

Her passion and advocacy paid off, and her hard work came full circle. Wednesday, one of her clinics received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines. She said hopes to start administering the 200 doses immediately.

“I think I had a pep in my step all morning,” she said. “I woke up happy because I knew today was the day we were going to get our vaccines. We’re going to have the distinct pleasure of being the ones to actually put the shots in the arms. So, it really feels like mission accomplished.”

Chandra said she plans to order additional vaccines once they have administered all of these first doses.

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