Valley pharmacist helps administer COVID-19 vaccine, recalls near-death battle with virus
From fighting COVID-19 to helping others stay clear of the virus, a local pharmacist is on a mission.
Frank Arredondo, a CVS pharmacist, spent ten days on a ventilator last spring, and now he’s using his experience to help others.
Arredondo tested positive for COVID-19 on April 5 last year, and was admitted into the hospital the very next day.
“They told me I have an oxygen saturation of 78,” Arredondo said. “They admit people with 92, so they knew I was in trouble. I was on a ventilator for ten days, and they actually put me in a drug-induced coma.”
Arredondo admits that the thought of not seeing his wife or kids again terrified him; he was finally discharged after spending over two weeks in the hospital.
“When they were wheeling me out the unit, I kind of put my hand up in victory,” Arredondo said. “Got to see the sunlight for the first time, and got to see my wife. She truly looked like a goddess. I felt like I hadn’t seen her in 100 years.”
Now his journey with the virus has come full circle. He is helping vaccinate the community against the virus that almost took his life through his profession.
“Take advantage of the opportunity because when I got sick, I didn’t have access to the vaccine,” he said. “Back then, there was no Remdesivir, [and] there was no convalescent plasma. The doctors actually did some experimental therapy on me.”
For him, administering vaccines is personal, and he hopes no one who can get the vaccine thinks about it twice.
“My wife got a phone call from the hospital twice, ‘Expect the worst news tomorrow,’” Arredondo said. “If you don’t want to be that person’s family member getting that call, I absolutely encourage everyone to get their vaccine.”