Writing an entire blog post about getting vaccinated seemed a bit excessive at first. I figured a brief social media post would suffice. I thought, what could I possibly even say at this point that could change anyone's mind? Information about safety and efficacy is readily available, and I did not feel I had much new information to bring to the conversation. I also had several other things I was working on, like other blog posts I was excited to finish and release. But as I kept thinking about what I wanted to say in this short social media post, I realized I had more to say than I thought. But not just about vaccines.
What I felt compelled to talk about took priority over everything else. It felt important to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine, but more importantly, to discuss why or why not to get the vaccine aside from the known physical health benefits and risks.
I think the best way I can start is by discussing why I decided TO get the vaccine. I can admit when I am wrong. My initial thoughts on the vaccine were wrong. Before the vaccine became available, but in the approval phases, I was one of the first to say I would never get a vaccine developed that quickly. I had trust issues with it like I know many of you did and still do.
Working in intensive care units during this time, I was getting a firsthand look at the destruction caused by the coronavirus. The unknowns about both the vaccine and the virus were scary. But then things went from scary to just dark, really dark. And I started seeing people dying—more people in a matter of days than I had seen in my entire career. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, coworkers, neighbors, acquaintances, young, old, black, white, brown, yellow—everyone was just dying.
Then, hallelujah, the vaccine became available! But let's just say I still was not first in line to receive the vaccine. I had hoped that it was the answer to the pandemic, but that didn't mean it was necessarily right for ME. I still had my reservations, but I had opened my heart and mind to the idea after some of the things I witnessed. Then, I started reviewing some of the research, talked to other medical professionals, weighed out the pros and cons, and decided that the right decision was to get the vaccine for me personally.
Personal freedom or free will is a beautiful thing and a God-given right. The decision to get vaccinated is personal, and I think it should be a choice. While it should be a choice, I think it's a pretty easy one to make after thinking about it from a different perspective. Now that I have looked at it from another standpoint, I regret hesitating for even a moment.
Here is why—I didn't get vaccinated because it was mandated. I didn't get vaccinated to choose my political side. I didn't get vaccinated because I was afraid of the virus. I didn't get vaccinated to prove a point. I didn't get vaccinated because everyone else was doing it. I didn't get vaccinated because I was tired of wearing a mask. I didn't get vaccinated because I wanted to travel. I didn't get vaccinated because I wasn't worried about the side effects. I didn't get vaccinated because I think it's 100% safe. I didn't get vaccinated because I believe it's 100% effective. I didn't get vaccinated because I trust the government. I didn't get vaccinated because of Biden or Trump. I didn't get vaccinated because of Black Lives Matter (even though they do!). My pros and cons list was actually quite short.
On the cons side, I started with "questionable safety and efficacy." On the pros side, I started with "potential to reduce the spread and stop some of the suffering." That was where my list stopped. That was enough for me. It didn't matter what else I put on the cons side.
Healthcare workers are like their own unique tribe or community. We have inside jokes and lingo that we all understand, even all across the country. It takes a special kind of person to go into healthcare and see and put up with the things we are required to do on a daily basis. Those who go into healthcare for the right reason do want to help others for a living. Meaning caring for others is what they do day in and day out without batting an eye.
When the pandemic hit, the world of healthcare workers turned upside down. The dream of helping others for a living became a reality of just doing your best to keep others and yourself alive. The physical and mental stress healthcare workers have had to endure is almost unthinkable. When the vaccine finally came out, it was a light at the end of the tunnel. There was some relief even, for a while anyway. But that light quickly burned out for many. Not because of the once again increasing COVID-19 cases, the continued staff shortages, vaccine mandates, hospital bed shortages, etc. But because hope in humanity is fading.
Some healthcare workers are frustrated because they have continued to risk their own lives and the lives of their families for others who won't even consider getting a free vaccine that could potentially slow the spread of coronavirus. Other healthcare workers are more frustrated by vaccine and masks mandates or even still deny COVID-19 exists (no, I'm not joking). But the divide isn't just amongst the community of healthcare workers. This divide is seen across the nation.
The thought of mandating vaccines blows my mind, not because of the mandate itself but because of the fact that it has to be required in the first place. As I said before, free will is a beautiful thing. But as humans, we have to be better and learn how to make the correct choice with that free will.
When it crossed my mind that there was even the slightest possibility that me getting a vaccine, with relatively low risk to myself, could prevent me from spreading the virus. A virus that has caused death, permanent disability, mental breakdowns, exhaustion, financial stress, marital stress, and not to mention hate, anger, fear, grief, and a host of other emotions, it really wasn't much of a choice at all.
With that being said, I do believe some people have a legitimate reason for not getting vaccinated. In my opinion, those people are not obligated to explain to me or anyone else their reason for not getting vaccinated. My scrutiny or judgment of them is not going to change their vaccination status. Having an open dialogue and asking or answering questions can be beneficial. But hate and judgment benefit no one.
I am not urging people to get vaccinated. Instead, I urge people to be kind to one another and speak love to one another— just to be good humans.
Whether you are vaccinated, unvaccinated, and nothing can change your mind, or unvaccinated and still deciding; you can still be a good person. You might even be surprised by how good it feels to be a good person.
If, after reading this, just one person chooses to get vaccinated, that would be amazing. Humanity, or the lack thereof, is a much more serious pandemic than the coronavirus. It would be even more amazing if just one person decides to be a better human. Choose to do good. Getting vaccinated for the sake of others is just one way of many you can choose to do good.
If you want help to be a better human or the best version of yourself, let's talk about it. Schedule a free wellness coaching consultation today.