Doctor who lost wife to COVID-19 now determined to fight back

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Getting thousands of people vaccinated in a day at one location is a huge undertaking.

Walter Hall Park in League City has become one of those sites in Galveston County.

On Friday, they were slated to vaccinate 3,000 people. It's part of a large effort by Galveston County, the county health district and the University of Texas Medical Branch.

One of UTMB's doctors, Dr. Janak Patel, has been a part of making all of it happen.

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"It's a drive-thru program, and we've had it for almost two months now," said Patel.

However, for Dr. Patel, the vaccine has become personal.

"I have a passion around this vaccination program," said Patel. "I know it saves lives."

From the onset of COVID-19, his wife, Nisha, was giving back to those on the front lines.

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The COVID-19 vaccine is supposed to be free for everyone with "no out-of-pocket cost" for patients, but two Houstonians said they were asked to pay for the vaccine at a West Houston clinic.

"During the initial stage of the COVID-19 crisis, as a lot of health care workers were working around the clock," he said. "She was cooking meals and delivering them at hospitals at well."

Then, his wife of 38 years got COVID-19 and sadly didn't make it.

"I watched everyone struggle to give her the best care possible, and like many others, she succumbed to it," said Patel. "It gave me extra meaning in terms of my work in the fight against COVID-19."

It's why Patel is motivated to continue doing what he does today.

He's determined to help others fight this virus that he said has taken from so many.

"Her life has given me extra meaning," said Patel.

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