Last week one of my friends died from COVID-19, cutting short a productive life of ministry. He is only one of the more than 394,000 lives and counting that have been claimed by the pandemic in the USA alone in the past twelve months. Amid all this tragedy I experienced a glimmer of hope last week — injected into my left arm. At 6:30pm on January 13th I received the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.Fifteen minutes later I was on my way home.
Since this vaccine received emergency authorization on Dec. 11th, I have been anticipating getting this shot like a child waiting for Christmas morning. I could finally see light at the end of the tunnel. I could visualize a time when I wasn’t paranoid about contracting this lethal virus. When a friend alerted me that Piedmont Athens Hospital was emailing vaccination invitations to at risk patients, I checked my email and there it was – a link to schedule an appointment.
When my appointment came just three days later, the experience was very much like getting a flu shot. I felt a small prick as the vaccine was injected, then I got a vaccination record card, received instructions on scheduling my 2nd shot in twenty-one days, sat in a chair for fifteen minutes, and it was over. The whole experience was easy, even pleasant.
In the information provided I learned that the vaccine is designed to make the body think coronavirus proteins are invading, thus inducing an immune system attack that can then be remembered and reproduced if the real coronavirus is ever encountered. Because of this, there are a few common side effects: fatigue, nausea, muscle aches and mild fever.
Personally, I had a slight soreness at the injection site for a couple of days and no other side effects. Honestly, I felt exactly like I do after a flu shot. My own experience and everything I’ve read leads me to believe this vaccine and the Moderna one are safe. They went through rigorous clinical trials and are endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel.
Let me say that again, these vaccines are safe. They do not cause autism. They do not change your DNA. They do not contain “deep state” microchips. They are not part of some nefarious conspiracy. Believe medical experts and scientists, not Q-Anon wackos and anyone else fanning the flames of anti-vaccine skepticism.
Yes, we all have the freedom to choose to be vaccinated or not, but the least fortunate of us might not have the choice of surviving a COVID-19 infection. The more of us who are vaccinated, the more of our brothers and sisters we can protect. If not for yourself, please be vaccinated for your neighbor.
2020 is over, but this pandemic is not, and, if health experts are to be believed, more deaths are ahead of us. But we now have a glimmer of hope, a literal shot in the arm! Please sign up to be vaccinated through your local health department, hospital, Doctor, or pharmacy and persuade your family and friends to do the same.
The day after my vaccination, I was a little sorer but a whole lot safer. I did this to for my loved ones and myself. I did this to do my part to help us return to a normal life.
When your turn comes, get your shot! Don’t throw away your chance to make the world a safer place.