About a week ago I received a notification from my university that I am now eligible for the COVID vaccine. Should I or shouldn’t I? Here are the top 5 reasons why I decided to get it as soon as possible. I hope this will help you make up your mind too.
Monday – A Bit of a Dilemma
I became eligible as an educator, even though I will not be teaching in person until the fall semester. So, this opened up a flood of questions and emotions.
- Do I take it? Do I take it now?
- Or, do I wait closer to the time when I will actually be seeing students and thus be more at risk of contracting the virus or spreading it?
- Do I take it or do I let older people take it first?
- Am I being selfish by taking it? Or, am I being selfish by not taking it?
The 5 Reasons Why I Said Yes
There were many things to consider before making the final decision. Here is what went through my mind.
Protection for myself and my loved ones
Even though I have not had any cancer treatments in over five years now, I am still not clear about my immunity. I have not been sick with a cold or flu so I imagine it is not bad. Also, I am doubling up with all my immunity boosters.
Nonetheless, since it is not certain whether long-term cancer survivors are at higher or normal risk for COVID, I think I’d rather hedge my bets and take the vaccine. Why risk getting my lungs infected especially since I did have a wedge removed already?
Here you go, the first one of the top 5 reasons why.
Working toward global herd immunity
The more people get vaccinated the better our chances to beat this virus to the ground. Moreover, the faster we vaccinate lots of people, the less chance the virus has to mutate and create new variants that could not be covered by the vaccines currently available.
Me getting vaccinated now helps achieve this so-called herd- or community immunity.
‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.World Health Organisation
Not everyone has to be vaccinated to achieve community immunity. But, people who are not at-risk-population that cannot take a vaccine (babies, people allergic to the vaccine, etc.) should be the only ones abstaining.
I definitely don’t want to be a free-loader and wait for others to give me herd immunity.
50% to 67% of the population would need to be resistant before herd immunity kicks in and the infection rates start to go down.WebMD
Here is an informative video about community immunity from WHO.
I’d say, that is pretty convincing.
Another YES for the vaccine.
People are asking themselves: Is the vaccine effective? Will it protect me and my loved ones? Turns out, the vaccines that are currently on the market are highly, highly effective.
Overall effectiveness has been reported in the range of 70% to 95%. That’s well above the average effectiveness of the flu vaccine, for example.
A Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial involving nearly 44,000 volunteers found vaccination to be 95% effective. This vaccine is authorized for use in the US.
A Moderna vaccine trial enrolling more than 30,000 volunteers reported effectiveness of 94%. This vaccine is authorized for use in the US.
A Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) trial reported overall effectiveness of 66% (72% in the US) in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. This vaccine is authorized for use in the US.COVID-19 vaccines: Safety, side effects — and coincidenceHarvard Health
It is important to remember that a yearly flu vaccine, by comparison, rarely reaches 60% effectiveness. It usually falls between 40 and 60%. And yet, it is still considered to be an effective tool in preventing severe disease outbreaks, hospitalizations, and death.
With Covid vaccines, their effectiveness is being measured in regard to severity and mortality from the disease. I’ll take it! Even if it would not protect me from contracting the virus, the main worry has always been severe complications, long-term hospitalization, and death.
So, here goes the third of the 5 reasons why.
Of course, I have been thinking about the safety of the vaccines. Normally, it takes a pharmaceutical company a significantly longer time to bring a vaccine to the market. With the urgency of the global pandemic, the various COVID vaccines have been “fast-tracked” and given emergency use permissions. That might mean that they have not been tested in as large and repeated trials as they would have been in less urgent circumstances.
In reality, what has been primarily fast-tracked has been the paperwork. As the data above shows, the trials were massive (44,000 and 30,000 volunteers for Pfizer and Moderna respectively). These are very large trials, even if they jumped over the intermediate animal trials. Usually, a new vaccine undergoes animal trials first to check the vaccine safety, but even so, some critics argue that it is hard to predict safety for humans even if a vaccine is safe for animals.
Since this time around the vaccines were tested on human volunteers, I am keen to think that they are tested even more stringently than they would have been in the typical, drawn-out testing period.
Fourth YES for the vaccine!
The Red Tape
I’ve been hearing a lot about how difficult it is to get the appointment for the vaccine, to get to the vaccination location, to actually get the shot in the arm.
My time is limited, like everybody’s, so I was wondering what kind of hoops will I have to jump over and how much precious time will it cost me.
How did this pre-conceived notion measure up to reality?
On Monday, 6 PM, I got notified by email from my university dean that we are eligible for the vaccination. I clicked the provided button to check my eligibility.
Two clicks later, I was told I am eligible and I should make my appointment. The next screen gave me options for locations and times. I picked Wednesday – my day sans teaching. Done!
Now, could there be anything easier to do? I sure wish our local DMV had a similar system in place.
Last one of the 5 reasons why it makes perfect sense to get the vaccine! I am convinced there are more but I am ready now! No more sitting on the fence.
Wednesday – The Vaccination
I got my shot today, on Wednesday. It was unbelievably easy to do. Very little wait time, and no need to get out of the car.
I just had to drive up to the vaccination center. Mine happened to be in the parking lot of an amusement park called Magic Mountain.
I find it pretty ironic, considering the rollercoaster we all have been on since COVID started impacting our lives almost exactly one year ago. And, to top it off, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann happens to be one of my favorite books. I take it as a happy omen.
After a few checks of my papers, my appointment schedule, and my temperature, I was ready for my shot.
I did not feel anything more than a tiny prick in the arm. All of it was administered through the window of my car. Band-aid on and off to the last stop – the observation station.
Here, I had to come to a full stop, turn off the engine and sit for 15 minutes, while the nurse was observing me on and off through the window and checked for any unusual reactions.
None came and I was ready to get out of there. That was it!
Friday – Side Effects?
Two days later, I can report only very, very mild side effects of the vaccine. By the evening on Wednesday, I felt soreness at the injection site, nothing more than after a flu vaccine. It stayed a bit sore during Thursday but the soreness was gone by late evening.
I am scheduled for the second dose in three weeks. Supposedly, the second one might bring on mild flu symptoms, but it only happens in a very minuscule minority of people who get it. Not really worried at all.
Rather than wait to report on the second dose, I really want to send this post out as fast as I can so that if you are on the fence regarding the vaccine, maybe my experience will convince you to go for it.
Again, the benefits and pros are immense. There are the 5 reasons why:
- All vaccines on the market right now are 100% effective against death and severe cases that require hospitalization.
- It will protect you and the people you interact with.
- It will help the country reach “herd immunity”, and then for the entire globe to get there.
- It is safe, painless, and has virtually no side effects.
- It is easy to get, once you get your appointment.
I hope you found this helpful. May you be healthy, may you be happy, may you have peace, my friend!
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