I am going to briefly share my story on why I was so hesitant to get vaccinated but decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine when I became eligible.
I am a full-time nurse working in dermatology and long-term care.
During the peak of COVID-19 in April 2020, I was working on a COVID-19 unit in the long-term care facility where I recently took employment in March, 2020. The stress of taking care of these sick seniors and dealing with their frustrated, saddened family members who were unable to come visit was overwhelming. This was in addition to being an overworked, tired nurse who was working overtime, covering shifts and not having enough PPE to protect myself. Those were by far the hardest of months of working during COVID-19.
Fifteen months later, COVID-19, the pandemic that challenged and changed the world, is still with us. One thing that most of us can relate to in 2021, is how the pandemic has affected us, maybe for the worst—losing loved ones, being unable to visit family members, loss of jobs, online school, the list continues. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has taken something away from usand our "normal" everyday lives were turned upside down. Or maybe the pandemic helped you slow down and take on new challenges.
Whatever our experiences have been during this pandemic, I hope we can all agree on the science of vaccines. Vaccines have been around for well over 100 years. Fun fact: "Edward Jenner is considered the founder of vaccinology in the West in 1796, after he inoculated a 13 year-old-boy with vaccinia virus (cowpox) and demonstrated immunity to smallpox. In 1798, the first smallpox vaccine was developed." Vaccines are safe and they are the reason why we have eradicated diseases such as smallpox, measles, polio and so many others.
When the new COVID-19 vaccines started to roll out, I, like so many others, had many questions. Are they safe? What are the risks? What are the long-term side effects? Social media was a whirlwind of un-researched articles, anti-vaxxers biased opinions and "Vaccines cause blood clots" headlines. So, my hesitancy and anxiety towards getting vaccinated grew.
As a nurse, I have the privilege of speaking with doctors about their opinions and the knowledge to do my own research. I know vaccines are safe and the science behind them has been well researched. Though the COVID-19 vaccine is new, it is not new research—rMNA vaccines have been well researched for more than 20 years.
I decided to get my vaccine because I knew the risks of Pfizer (which is the vaccine I received) are minimal compared to the risks and long-term effects of COVID-19. I got vaccinated so I can hug my four-month-old niece and finally see her and the rest of my family. I got vaccinated because I wanted social gatherings again. I got vaccinated so I do not have to go through losing another patient to COVID-19. I got vaccinated because I would like to see the smiles on my patients’ faces.
The world with vaccines is a safe one, a world where we can continue to live out our lives healthy and without fear (for most)and without a sickness taking our over lives. We get vaccinated so we can keep our immune system safe.
I encourage everyone to do their research on vaccines and to get vaccinated if it is safe for you to do so..
Edit: September 24th 2021, I decided I was going to get a third dose of Pfizer for the peace of mind, for the added protection for myself and my immunocompromised patients, and for the 60+ patients I see in a days work.
20 months into this pandemic and I know everyone is feeling the Covid-19 fatigue. I am with you. I am tired of having vaccine talks, sick of wearing masks and craving a sense of what “normal life” was before the pandemic. I am sure we all want to go back to a life where visiting our grandparents would not be a death sentence for them, kissing our young nieces/nephews without fear of getting them sick as they are too young to be vaccinated.
A brief history of vaccination. Immunisation Advisory Centre. (2020, January 8). https://www.immune.org.nz/vaccines/vaccine-development/brief-history-vaccination.