Why I Decided to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

A love letter to health care workers, scientists, and the unvaccinated.

When the COVID-19 vaccines first became available to the general public, I admit that for a split second I thought about waiting. The thought didn’t last long.

When I received my first dose in April 2021, I cried. Literally, I had tears on my face. I didn’t realize how much fear I had been holding about getting, or spreading the virus. Nor did I fully realize how the compounded stress of adjusting to lifestyle changes, while doing my best to follow and practice safety procedures had affected me. The moment I got the first shot was an incredible moment of relief.

I wanted to hug the pharmacist. I didn’t, but I was overwhelmed with happiness. To live in a place where we have access to a life saving vaccine, and — for free? A vaccine that allows myself and others to be protected from a deadly virus, and for the world to come alive again. It is a privilege that I do not take for granted.

The pandemic is not over. As a health communicator, I can understand and empathize with the reasons for vaccine hesitancy. It can be frustrating at times; however, I do not believe that shaming people on either side of the debate is productive. I believe that people are smart and reasonable when provided with accurate information.

In addition to the millions of people who have died since the virus began, the global economic toll, and the disruption to life as we knew it, more than 3,600 health care workers have died in the United States alone as a result of COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health care workers that risked, and ultimately lost their lives in the midst of treating COVID patients.

Health care workers who died during COVID-19. Photo credit, Kaiser Family Foundation.

My hope is that those rooted in their attachment to their independent freedom will take a step back, and consider how their choice effects many other people. And, how making an individual choice to get vaccinated will help themselves, their communities, and the world. Our freedoms are possible because of the vaccines. I hope that those who are hesitant because they are unsure about the safety will find a person, an article, a video, something that resonates with them in order to help them understand that the vaccines truly are safe.

Dr. Joseph Costa, Chief of Critical Care at Mercy Medical Center. Died July 25, 2020 from COVID-19.

I do not intend for this to be a conclusion, but rather a pause in order to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the scientists, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health care workers, and people who are continuously working to treat and prevent further infection. To all of the health care heroes who gave their lives in the service of others during this pandemic, thank you for your service. May you rest in peace.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in this article, Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe?

Health communications, public health news, and stories from around the world. AP style. https://linktr.ee/ModTradition

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Health communications, public health news, and stories from around the world. AP style. https://linktr.ee/ModTradition

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