They were afraid of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. How a talk with the family doctor changed their minds


Dr. Tara Kiran knew she was close. The family physician had spent weeks trying to convince her patients, a mom and daughter who lived and worked in a COVID-19 hot spot in Toronto, to get vaccinated. Months had passed since they became eligible for their shots. Now they were in her office together for an appointment and it seemed like they might finally be ready.

The patients, Esther, 66, and her daughter Alice, 39, trusted Kiran. She had been their family doctor for nearly a decade. She knew their health histories, their families, what they did for a living, what kept them up at night. If they decided to get the vaccine, there was only one person they wanted holding the syringe.

“I’m not getting it unless I can get it from Dr. Kiran,” Alice told her husband before the appointment.

There was only one problem. Kiran didn’t have any vaccine to give.

That day in June, Esther and Alice sat in Kiran’s office, a small room with green walls, an examination bed, three pieces of art hung slightly askew and two chairs alongside the doctor’s desk from which the patients asked a question she heard often: Can we get the vaccine here, in the clinic, from you?

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