Sleep proved elusive last night because I was so excited about getting my second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. And I am ecstatic to report that this morning, I did indeed receive the second jab… in just three weeks I will have high immunity to COVID 19. The State government set up the vaccination center at the ex-train station, and they could not have done it better. I saw quite a few older (than me) folks who looked as nervous as mice trying to slip by a prowling alley cat. But the (mostly young) staff were well-trained, courteous and worked quickly. I didn’t see even one of the Nervous Nellies or Neds, leave the vaccination center without a smile and a “muchas gracias” for the medical team.
During the past 16 months (give or take a few days) I have worried almost non-stop about how the virus will continue to impact us. The concern for our college’s instructors, staff and students has been a daily preoccupation. And keeping dry through last summer’s almost-hurricane conditions presented us with still more challenges. I won’t even mention how I longed for more social stimulation, physical exercise, travel and the other pleasures I used to take for granted.
I feel chagrined because I did not do a better job of coping. Other people suffered real privation and they bore up better than I did. It was the first time in my life that I felt unable to see my way out. I felt terrified that I would get COVID 19.
I wanted to sustain a better attitude. Lots of my friends managed to get enthusiastic about ZOOM but I could not get past missing my “normal” interactions with friends and I stubbornly refused to learn more technology. Some solace came my way from writing and painting, but as the weeks wore on, it seemed I had less and less ability to focus and finish anything. I cleaned a lot, but maybe this was an attempt to spiff-up my tarnished self-image. Cooking and of course the subsequent eating became a big part of every day, and so now, I have even more weight to lose than before.
Is confession “good for the soul”? Is parading my peccadillos in public and reciting a litany of my under-achievement, actually an exercise in atonement? Why am I publishing all this dribble?
Truth be told, I hope that writing about my struggles during the epidemic and the relief I now feel, will help others to reconsider their position and get vaccinated. Rejection of the vaccine is full of the same folly as my refusal to adapt to the “new normal”. None of us like having control or personal choice taken away, but we are all in this together. Like it or not, my pain is yours, and yours is mine. For all our sakes, we must work together to reach herd immunity and halt the relentless spread of COVID 19.
At https://www.muhealth.org/our-stories/covid-19-vaccine-myths-vs-facts I read the following information about the anti-vax theories that have been making the rounds. I don’t expect too many (if any) of those who have outright rejected vaccination will change their minds. However, some of those who are indecisive will maybe reconsider .
People who refuse to vaccinate possibly feel it isn’t my place to give an opinion about what they have elected to do. Yet, by refusing the vaccine, they are acting (not just speaking) against my interests. And so, given their actions, I believe I have the right to write about how this makes me feel.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation (as well as malicious rumors) surrounding the vaccines and their development. When deciding whether or not to get the vaccine, it’s important to separate myths from facts.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe because it was developed so quickly.
Fact: The authorized vaccines are proven safe and effective. Although they were developed in record time, they have gone through the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration process as other vaccines, meeting all safety standards. No steps were skipped. Instead, we can thank the unprecedented worldwide collaboration and investment for the shorter timeframe on the development of the vaccines. The clinical trials and safety reviews actually took about the same amount of time as other vaccines.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.
Fact: The first vaccines granted emergency use authorization contain messenger RNA (mRNA), which instructs cells to make the “spike protein” found on the new coronavirus. When the immune system recognizes this protein, it builds an immune response by creating antibodies — teaching the body how to protect against future infection. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. The body gets rid of the mRNA soon after it’s finished using the instructions.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine includes a tracking device.
Fact: A video shared thousands of times on Facebook makes false claims about the products of syringe maker Apiject Systems of America, which has a contract with the government to provide medical-grade injection devices for vaccines. The company has an optional version of its product that contains a microchip within the syringe label that helps providers confirm a vaccine dose’s origin. The chip itself is not injected into the person getting the vaccine.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine has severe side effects such as allergic reactions.
Fact: Some participants in the vaccine clinical trials did report side effects similar to those experienced with other vaccines, including muscle pain, chills and headache. And although extremely rare, people can have severe allergic reactions to ingredients used in a vaccine. That’s why experts recommend people with a history of severe allergic reactions — such as anaphylaxis — to the ingredients of the vaccine should not get the vaccination.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women.
Fact: Misinformation on social media suggests the vaccine trains the body to attack syncytin-1, a protein in the placenta, which could lead to infertility in women. The truth is, there’s an amino acid sequence shared between the spike protein and a placental protein; however, experts say it’s too short to trigger an immune response and therefore doesn’t affect fertility. Learn more.
Myth: I’ve already been diagnosed with COVID-19, so I don’t need to receive the vaccine.
Fact: If you have already had COVID-19, there’s evidence that you can still benefit from the vaccine. At this time, experts don’t know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
Myth: Once I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I no longer need to wear a mask.
Fact: Masking, handwashing and physical distancing remain necessary in public until a sufficient number of people are immune. Fully vaccinated people can meet with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks.
Myth: You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
Fact: You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine because it doesn’t contain the live virus.
Myth: Once I receive the vaccine, I will test positive for COVID-19.
Fact: Viral tests used to diagnose COVID-19 check samples from the respiratory system for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. Since there is no live virus in the vaccines, the vaccines will not affect your test result. It is possible to get infected with the virus before the vaccine has had time to fully protect your body.
Myth: I’m not at risk for severe complications of COVID-19 so I don’t need the vaccine.
Fact: Regardless of your risk, you can still contract the infection and spread it to others, so it’s important you get vaccinated. Once the vaccine is widely available, it’s recommended that as many eligible adults as possible get the vaccine. It’s not only to protect you but your family and community as well.
Myth: If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I am at a greater risk to become sick from another illness.
Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that getting the vaccine heightens your risk to become sick from another infection such as the flu.
Myth: Certain blood types have less severe COVID-19 infections, so getting a vaccine isn’t necessary.
Fact: Research has shown there is no reason to believe being a certain blood type will lead to increased severity of COVID-19. By choosing to get vaccinated, you are protecting not only yourself and your family but your community as well.