Whether you’re for the COVID-19 vaccine or against it, getting the shot is something everyone seems to have an opinion about.
Now, before you stop reading, I want to let you know that my intention in writing this is not to tell you to drop what you’re doing and go get the shot if you haven’t already. I had my concerns about it too, but in November after putting it off for many months, I finally got my first dose of the vaccine.
Let me back up to March of 2020. When the pandemic first hit, I felt very passionate about people staying home to stop the spread of COVID. At the time I was living with my aunt, who works in an oncology clinic, so she was treating people with cancer every day. I didn’t want to risk getting exposed to COVID because I wanted to keep my aunt (and, by extension, her patients) safe. So, I stayed home, I wore my mask, and I did my part.
Fast forward to springtime of 2021, the vaccines started to be available. I was excited that my grandparents could get vaccinated, and I wouldn’t have to feel nervous being around them again. I was excited there was a glimmer of hope that this would be over soon, and we could all go back to the lives we lived before all this.
Well, my turn came to get the vaccine, and I didn’t do anything.
I saw all the Instagram stories of my friends and peers proudly flaunting their vaccine cards, and I was happy for them.
When fall semester started, I was busy with work and school, and I didn’t get the vaccine because I didn’t have time. I had heard of so many people who felt sick after they got their shots and I didn’t have time to be sick, so I didn’t get it.
It’s not that I don’t believe in medicine, and I sure as heck don’t believe all the conspiracy theories on Facebook. I just didn’t want to get the vaccine during that time.
I think I was expecting someone to come knock on my door with a needle and just do it for me. I just didn’t want to put in the effort. I had no real excuse, but I was good at coming up with one any time the topic came up. I told myself that there was no point in getting it now because I should’ve gotten it a long time ago.
What finally made me do it? Well, for starters, I did not want to be associated with the aforementioned Facebook conspiracy theorists. Then my family told me, semi jokingly, that I wouldn’t be allowed at Thanksgiving unless I got my first shot.
So, I did it. I finally made the effort. I did what I knew I should have done months ago.
I was nervous as soon as I walked into the clinic, while I waited, and when it was my turn to go back. One would think the nerves would end after that point, right? Wrong. I was pretty much nervous until I woke up the next morning. My arm was sore for a few days and I had a little bruise from the shot, but other than that I didn’t feel any of the negative side effects I was so worried about.
My daily life didn’t get severely disrupted like I thought it would. But then again, it’s a two-dose vaccine.
Most people would consider it a blessing to feel fine after their first shot. However, for me, the lack of negative reaction to the first shot only increased my nerves for round two.
The actual process was pretty much the same as the first time around. My arm was sorer and the soreness started a lot sooner with the second shot. When I woke up the next morning, I had a pretty prominent headache. But after some ibuprofen, I was fine.
Yeah, that’s it. I was fine. All that stress, all that procrastination, for an extremely anticlimactic resolution.
I said at the beginning that I’m not writing this to tell you what I think you should do. I’m just here to share my experience. Feel free to roll your eyes at me because I was making such a big deal out of something so small. I was embarrassed that I waited so long to get this done, and I still am, but I’m proud of myself now too.
I hate saying that I want things to go back to normal because realistically being almost two years into this pandemic, this is our new normal. I’m so sick of drive thrus, masks, and debating about what’s the right and wrong thing to do. I don’t want to walk into a crowded place and think to myself, “I wonder how many of these people have COVID and don’t know it.”
That’s not an enjoyable way to live, but all those things are normal now. I want my college experience back. I want my peace of mind back. I want my freedom back.
I know that this will end someday, but until then I’m going to follow the rules and do my part to stop the spread. Hesitation is understandable, but for me, I’ll take my chances with medicine created by doctors rather than a disease that has taken so much from all of us.
Written by: Jess Hegele