Husband and wife doctors team-up to save lives, tirelessly supporting Fairbanks vaccination efforts
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As the vaccination efforts in Fairbanks continue, we got to visit with two physicians who have dedicated their time to making sure residents can be vaccinated.
Doctors Andrew and Jacqueline Cox, Medical Oncologists with the Fairbanks Cancer Care Physicians, have devoted time and resources to assist with the Fairbanks vaccination efforts.
According to Andrew, the two physicians knew they would need to step up and work to ensure residents had resources to receive vaccinations. ”You know we’ve both been physicians for 25-26 years now and it was very clear that this was kind of going to be a defining point in our career - not just ours, but really anybody in healthcare. I think most folks in healthcare just felt, ‘Ok it’s time to step up and do a bit more than we normally do.’”
Jacqueline added, “It was sort of this feeling of everybody needed to pitch in and help and do as much as they can, and it was just sort of a reminder of ‘this is why we got into medical school’ - to kind of be ready to step up and do our part as well.”
At the peak of vaccination demand, Jacqueline said the two were working overtime to ensure everyone who wanted a vaccine could receive one. “In the beginning it was probably four nights during the week, and then a Saturday, and now it’s kind of shifted over a little bit to one or two nights per week and then these pop-up clinics we’re sort of doing. But no, it definitely felt like the right thing to do. The time went quickly, we’ve had amazing volunteers all ready to help and actually calling and asking how much more they can do.”
Andrew added, “You don’t even think of it like that. Obviously we didn’t want to mix the vaccination effort, we couldn’t do it during clinic hours. So all of our clinics are either starting at about 6 p.m. and going till 10 or so on a weekday, or up to 14 hours on a Saturday at our peak. Things have dropped off considerably in the last several weeks of course. But during that first piece there it was pretty intense but it was also pretty fun. There was a lot of positive energy, so many volunteers... 35, 40, I’ve lost track of the number of people who have come in to volunteer and help. It really felt more like a party than work.”
However it’s not all just providing vaccines. The two have also dedicated time and effort to provide anyone skeptical about, or misinformed about vaccines with up to date information as well as answering any questions.
“There are some people who just come and Dr. (Andrew) Cox is pretty well versed and has read a lot of literature,” Jacqueline said. “He actually has several slides on a PowerPoint and he has been known to take out the laptop and kind of explain different science or different studies that have been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. So I think that has kind of helped, and I think a lot of people have appreciated that. Sometimes they just come in and they want more information, and are kind of gonna think about it and come back. But everybody kind of moves at their own pace, so we’re just hopeful that we can kind of explain things as well as we can so they can make their own decisions.”
Along with vaccinating at their clinic, the Cox’s also have thrown and participated in many pop-up clinics including at the movie theater and local events. As of now their practice has vaccinated 4,746 individuals, but they’ll be the first to say that they couldn’t have done it alone.
Jacqueline said, “I did just want to thank all the volunteers that have been a part of this community effort. Definitely couldn’t have done it without all the volunteers that we’ve had, in addition to all our physician partners and healthcare worker partners, nurses, and the whole group.”
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