OPINION: Why I’m getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Cambrea Schrank 

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  2,307,092. Two million, three hundred seven thousand, ninety-two. That is 2,307,092 human beings dead in the last year. And every day, this number goes up. Another friend, grandparent, teacher, doctor… lost to this horrible virus. I would do anything to make it stop.  

     I got COVID-19 in December. I did not have a fever above 100 degrees. I did not have to go to the hospital. I suffered no more than a dry cough and some congestion. While my symptoms were minor, the fear of passing it on to someone else was the most upsetting.  

     I felt an immense amount of responsibility, though this feeling was not entirely unfamiliar. Since the pandemic started, I have worn my mask. I’ve practiced social distancing and washing my hands. But knowing that I carried the virus in my body added another layer of accountability. I would take no risks with the health and safety of others.  

     So, I stayed home for nearly a month while I recovered. The result: My loved ones did not contract the virus from me — including my immunocompromised grandfather who lives with my parents.  

     This all took place around the same time that talk of the vaccine was becoming more prominent. Many people expressed concern over how quickly this vaccine was coming out: that the vaccine was rushed or “cut corners.” Others were skeptical of its design, worried that a COVID-19 vaccine would alter their DNA, or that it would ruin their chances of having a baby one day.  

     Yet, all these claims have been proven false or unlikely to occur, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

     The vaccine went through a rigorous approval process before being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are approved and recommended by the FDA. 

     Odds are, you or someone you know has received a vaccination for something, be it measles, polio, hepatitis B, etc. — a vaccine that had to go through similar trials and approvals and was likely under public scrutiny at one point too. (Just check out the list of immunizations recommended to protect you from 16 potentially harmful diseases throughout your life.)  

     Consider the smallpox vaccine. It worked.  

Image courtesy of Instagram.

     The CDC reports that routine smallpox vaccinations among the American public stopped in 1972, after the disease was eradicated in the United States.  

     Because of the willingness of those in our past to receive the smallpox vaccine and eliminate that virus, I did not have to get the vaccine or worry about getting sick. Thank you.  

     Unless you can claim religious or specific health reasons, you should get the COVID-19 vaccine because it is your responsibility to others.  

     The U.S. is currently administering around 1.3 million shots of the COVID-19 vaccine a day, according to NPR. The side effects of receiving a vaccine are mild and short-term (similar to flu shot side effects) and occur in a small percentage of people. These side effects are minimal compared to getting sick and hospitalized with COVID-19. The benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. 

     When my time comes to get the vaccine, I will get it — as my 70-year-old father and immunocompromised grandfather did last month. Why? Because I am responsible for more than just myself. I owe it to others to try a solution. 

     Whether or not you plan on getting the vaccine is a hot topic right now. The vaccine is not immune to misinformation. You may have heard scary claims from a relative, friend, or on social media about the COVID-19 vaccine that are making you wary.  

     It is understandable for you to have questions and concerns about the vaccine, especially since it is new, so it is important that you do your research and consider the facts before making your decision.