When I look back on this past year, with all the social distancing, masking up and daily fears of catching COVID-19, it was a no-brainer for me when the opportunity came up to get my vaccination.
As a liver transplant recipient who takes immune-suppressing medications, my risk is even greater that I’d catch the virus and would suffer ill-effects from it. So, when I received an email from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, the site of my 2017 transplant, offering me the vaccine I decided I was going there to get it done.
Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive about receiving the vaccine. Yes, there have been some who have suffered serious side-effects. But I knew that number wasn’t great, and I’ve personally never had issues with vaccines.
I also knew I didn’t want to spend another year hiding in my house, staying at a distance from family and friends. I’ve missed a lot with my kids this past year – my daughter and her new house and my son in his senior year at high school.
The vaccine may have its risks, but so does stepping out the door every day into a world with coronavirus. I weighed the two – COVID and the vaccination – and decided I’d take my chances with the vaccine.
A survey by the Pew Research Center early in the pandemic said 27 percent of Americans surveyed said they wouldn’t likely get a COVID-19 vaccine. By November, those who said they would get a vaccine grew to 39 percent.
At the same time, the portion of the population who wanted to receive the vaccine fell from 72 percent to 60 percent over the same time period.
Most of those who didn’t want to get the vaccine were concerned with potential adverse events and vaccine’s effectiveness. Now remember, the vaccines have undergone testing, but have not achieved final approval from the FDA. Due to the urgent nature of the pandemic, the vaccines have been approved for emergency use.
The objective is to achieve herd immunity, which means approximately 60 to 70 percent of the population needs enough antibodies to fight the virus. To do this, most of the population will have to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated, the closer we are to herd immunity.
When I had my vaccination, I understood there was a risk. I accepted that risk because to me, the threat of getting COVID is much greater than the risk of having a serious side-effect to the vaccine. I made the decision to protect myself, my family and for anyone I may come in contact with though daily life.
I, for one, am ready to get back to a normal life. I will also be glad when the day comes COVID doesn’t claim another life, because it’s taken many good people who didn’t have the chance to get vaccinated before this disease claimed them.
In getting vaccinated, I did what I believe was my part in ending the threat of COVID-19. Hopefully, you’ll think about getting vaccinated too. For more information about COVID-19 vaccination sites in Genesee County, visit gchd.us/covid.html.
Gary Gould is the managing editor of the Genesee County View. Contact him at email@example.com.