Obviously, the past year has been… challenging, to say the least. COVID has wreaked havoc on pretty much everyone’s life. Now that vaccines have been released, it’s like we can see a glimpse of the finish line. While the vaccine may seem like a miracle at first glance, there are some understandable factors to consider before getting it yourself.
The main reason I decided to get the vaccine is because the vaccine can help prevent me from getting COVID-19 and passing it on to others. I am fortunate enough to have never been sick with COVID, and it is not an experience that I would ever like to have. Working in the health field, I have been paranoid about exposing loved ones to the virus. There are many people in my life that are considered high-risk for COVID, and it has been challenging to not see them. I think it’s important for those who are able and willing to vaccinate to do so, especially considering that some of the most at-risk for COVID may not be able to get the vaccine.
It’s understandable why people are concerned that the vaccine was rushed; how could a quality vaccine be developed in less than a year? However, technology is incredibly advanced, and vaccine development was a worldwide effort. And consider that they weren’t exactly starting from scratch; though COVID-19 is a new virus, there have been coronaviruses in the past that have been documented and studied. The concept of using mRNA to target the virus is also a concept that has been researched as well.
Some have been concerned over getting sick with COVID from the vaccine. Because the vaccine does not contain the live virus, it cannot infect you. However, some have experienced side effects after the vaccine was administered that are similar to COVID symptoms, such as a fever, chills or headache. Other side effects include soreness or pain at the injection site.
Unfortunately, even if you have had COVID and recovered, there is limited evidence of prolonged immunity; even after recovering from COVID, evidence suggests that natural immunity does not last longer than 90 days. Therefore, the vaccine is recommended for those who have had COVID and recovered as well.
For me, the process of receiving the vaccine was very straightforward. I received an email from the CDC notifying me that I was eligible to schedule my first dose. The scheduling system was really easy to use, but it does take about 10-15 minutes to fill in all of the necessary information (and you’ll want to have your insurance card handy). There were appointment options at several different locations for me to choose from, and the earliest available were within a week. I chose to get mine from Prisma Health Richland since my partner had gotten his vaccine from there and said it was a hassle-free experience. Getting checked in was an easy and quick process thankfully because the anxiety had set in at that point. While I do get my flu shot every year, I still get nervous around needles. Thankfully, the nurse who administered the shot was very kind and joked with me. The actual shot did not hurt much at all; it really was comparable to a flu shot. The only side effect that I experienced was soreness and redness around the injection site, but it was very bearable and did not impact my ability to work.
I 100% feel that getting vaccinated was worth it. I am ready for the pandemic to be over, and this vaccine seems like the most likely way to end it. I will still be practicing social distancing and wearing my oh-so-fashionable masks in public, but I am excited for everyone to have the opportunity to be vaccinated.