Like many people, I followed most everything COVID-19 via the News app on my phone. Some days, there was not much good news, but one piece was good. As 2020 was ending, I started to get more and more excited because COVID-19 vaccines had been approved by the FDA and were beginning to be made for the public.
Even though I am in my early 20s, I am at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying conditions. To name just two issues, I only have one lung and am immunocompromised. Due to my immune system’s struggle to fight illnesses, it is both easier for me to get sick and to be very ill. Because of this, I have had to make every possible effort not to get this virus.
After months of waiting, I finally got my COVID-19 vaccine, and I am beyond relieved. After both shots, it felt as if a weight were lifted off my shoulders and I, along with my family, could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Now that my family is fully vaccinated, our family has been able to go out more and even allow a friend to visit for the first time in over a year.
To those who have gotten, or will get, the COVID-19 vaccine, thank you for choosing to get it. By getting your shot(s), you are doing your part not only to protect yourself, but also to protect others.
As I type this, over 240 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given, according to the Center for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker. In addition, the CDC says more than 100 million people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It also shows that more than 145 million, more than 40% of the U.S., have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
For those who are on the fence about, or do not want to get, a COVID-19 vaccine, I strongly urge you to reconsider for the following reasons.
One common thing I have heard is that because the vaccine is so new and was produced so quickly, people feel like they are part of an experiment. Yes, I understand that the vaccine was produced and distributed to the public in less than a year, but I do not think that should be a concern. Even though the vaccines were not formally approved by the FDA, I do not think they would have given emergency use authorization, or EUA, if the trials had shown it to be unsafe and/or ineffective.
A second thing I have heard is “I don’t need the vaccine because I already had COVID-19.” Regardless, the CDC still strongly encourages people to get vaccinated. Yes, your body has built some immunity, but the vaccines will build on that immunity, and you will be even more protected.
A third argument I have heard is “I don’t need the vaccine because I am not at a high risk for it.” According to an NPR article released on May 1, 2021, COVID-19 cases are increasing in those under 50 years old. The virus can infect anyone. Some people have it but do not have symptoms. We never know if our coworkers, classmates, family, friends, clients or even strangers are at high risk for serious, even fatal, cases of COVID-19.
To those who have already received the vaccine, thank you for doing your part in protecting society. To those who have not received it or are not planning to get the vaccine, I urge you to please consider rolling up your sleeve and getting vaccinated.
This has absolutely nothing to do with politics and never should have. This has to do with public health, stopping the spread of COVID-19 and helping society resume life once again. If you feel like you cannot do it for yourself, please do it to help protect your loved ones, peers and others you encounter. With every person who gets vaccinated, we get closer to some form of normalcy again.