My change of heart: why I decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Dear Editor,

I hadn’t planned to take a COVID-19 vaccine at first.

I was concerned about how quickly they’d been invented, what long-term effects they might have, and why they’d been approved for “emergency use only”. Plus, I believed I could avoid getting COVID if I was careful enough.

I avoided touching my eyes, nose, and mouth, learned to love the smell of hand sanitizer, and wore my mask religiously. I kept to open spaces and said no to large gatherings. I was doing everything right.

Even so, being asthmatic, and having an asthmatic child meant my family was at a higher risk for a more severe case of COVID.

When young, healthy people I knew became seriously ill with COVID-19, I would convince myself they did something wrong. They didn’t follow the protocols well enough, waited too long to get medical attention, or didn’t steam three times a day.

It was all I could do to make sense of the sheer chaos COVID created. The uncertainty of it really did me in. You just never know what your experience will be like.

Even healthy or careful people can become incredibly sick. I know people who had mild flu-like symptoms, and those who had collapsed lungs and COVID-19-induced psychosis. There’s no rhyme or reason. Catching COVID is a gamble.

So when I eventually picked up the virus in August of 2021, I was really scared.

My first thought was to get my kids out of the house, but how could I be sure they weren’t exposed too? What if I sent them away and they passed the illness on to someone who wasn’t as young and strong?

Who would take care of my babies if I needed to go to the hospital? Who would pay for the stay if I had to be admitted?!

There were too many unknowns. So I had a choice to make. I could roll the dice with COVID (probably more than once) or I could take my chances with the vaccine.

I decided to do more research before deciding.

I learned why the vaccines had been developed so fast (scientists collaborated globally and received funding from government and private entities around the world who hoped to get economies functioning again).

I deduced that the risk of long-term effects from the vaccines (which were made using techniques that have been studied for almost a decade) were probably lower than my risk of long-term effects from COVID.

And finally, a COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the FDA, the same governing body that approved just about every other drug I’d ever taken in my life.

So, I decided to get the COVID vaccine.

Although it took me some time to decide, I did my own research, addressed my concerns, and made up my own mind.

Like many others, my hesitancy regarding the vaccines stemmed from uncertainty, but personal experience has taught me nothing is more uncertain than COVID-19.

I’m happy with my choice.

At the end of the day, we all just really want to get back to living our lives the way we once did.

Before I was vaccinated, I found that really hard to do. Not knowing the when, where, how, and how badly I would catch COVID was too much for me to deal with when so many other areas of my life were inevitably changing.

Everyone has their reasons about why they wish or don’t wish to take the COVID-19 vaccine, so I had honest conversations with my closest friends, coworkers, and family when I was considering what to do.

We talked about our experiences, what we’d read, our sources, and the factors we were considering before we took a position on the vaccine.

I know those simple conversations can’t change the world, but they helped to validate my concerns and directed me to information I may not have found on my own.

As COVID-19 continues to infect people around the world, I feel a little more confident than I once did.

The vaccine does not make me immune, but it helps reduce the risk of a more severe infection.

That extra layer of protection can mean the difference between treating a mild case at home and spending a night or more in the hospital, especially if you have pre-existing conditions like I do.

With the vaccine, getting COVID becomes less of a gamble.

I was glad I had the support of others, but ultimately, I did what I believe was best for me and my family.

I’d encourage everyone else to learn as much as they can and then try to do the same.

Trevann Thompson

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